Update: Pineda complained of shoulder soreness after his outing tonight and will undergo an MRI on Saturday. It’s still not official, but now it seems pretty certain that he won’t be in the rotation to start the year.
Michael Pineda is already hearing the boo-birds in pinstripes, without even having pitched in a regular-season game for the Yankees.
The struggling right-hander was pulled after allowing six runs in 2 2/3 innings against the Phillies on Friday night, taking his spring ERA to 5.68. With his velocity still down, there’s a good chance he’ll be bumped from the rotation and optioned to Triple-A.
While Pineda’s lost velocity has long been the talk of Yankees camp, he was still pretty effective until tonight, going 1-0 with a 3.31 ERA and a 16/7 K/BB ratio in 16 1/3 innings. If the Yankees didn’t have six starters for five spots, they’d almost surely give him a chance to work through the velocity issues in the regular season. Still, sending him down seems like the obvious choice now. They’ll still have Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia behind CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda in the rotation.
As disappointing as the series of events has been, it’s way too early to rule on the Jesus Montero-for-Pineda trade. Pineda showed some of the best stuff in the AL last year, and while the drop off in his fastball is a big concern, he says he’s healthy. It’s probably time to write him off for April, but he still could be a difference maker for the Bombers this season.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.