Monday, January 16, 2012

Yanks taking care of business (as usual)

The Yankees struck gold by acquiring Pineda (left) and Kuroda (right).

Up until last week, the Yankees have been abnormally quiet this winter. Then in a New York minute, they addressed the biggest need on their team, starting pitching. The Yanks finally dealt their sought after prospect Jesus Montero to the Mariners for an extremely talented youngster Michael Pineda Friday night. Then a few hours later agreed to sign Hiroki Kuroda to a 1-year deal.

Kuroda posted a career best 3.07 ERA with a 13-16 record in 2011 with the Dodgers. His record clearly shows he was unlucky after a glance at his ERA. He has a 3.45 career ERA as well which proves he has been consistent year in and year while in the NL West. 

Pineda is coming off a fine rookie season posting a 3.74 ERA with a 9-10 record and 173 strikeouts. His record shows he was a product of a lack of run support, being on an inferior offensive team. He did begin to burnout towards the end of the season but it was his first year. I haven't studied his repertoire but I have heard some people comparing his talent to king Felix and perhaps even better.

Why did the Yankees finally let go of Montero? My guess is that they are comfortable with their offense, which they most certainly should be. Granted they are giving up youth on offense, they have other top catcher prospects; one being Austin Romine who is making strides. Now why would they do the trade for Pineda? They basically traded Montero for a pitching counterpart of himself. Pineda is only 23 years old and has as much potential as Montero, if not more. Quality pitching is harder to come by then quality hitting. 

The Yankees find themselves in a position they are not normally used to. They have 7 quality starting pitchers to fill a 5-man rotation: CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Hiroki Kuroda, Michael Pineda, AJ Burnett, Freddy Garcia, and Phil Hughes. My guess is the first five on this list will be the starting five in that order. Phil Hughes will be placed in the bullpen as will Freddy Garcia, unless for some odd reason they keep a 6-man rotation. 

As for the DH situation, the Yankees have been talking to Carlos Pena, Johnny Damon, and Hideki Matsui. I read a report that Pena may be out of the Yanks budget for a 1-year deal but they should be able to afford either of the other two listed. It would be great to see either Damon or Matsui in pinstripes again. What are your thoughts on the latest acquisitions and rumors?