Seattle’s GM says he feels bad but pitchers get hurt

The Yankees made a bold trade this offseason that was hard, but necessary at the time as they tried to both improve their rotation and plan for the future. However, a shoulder injury to Michael Pineda has made it a deal that the Yankees are likely to ultimately regret.

The fact that the injury occurred so soon after the trade has lead some Yankees fans wonder whether Mariner’s GM Jack Zduriencik sold the Yankees damaged. That isn’t likely though as Brian Cashman pointed out, the Yankees did extensive physicals on Pineda before the trade was made official and even gave him a MRI on his shoulder.

Still, Ken Davidoff of the NY Post caught up with Zduriencik, who is in town for the weekend, and asked him about the trade.

“Pitchers get hurt. There’s no way to get around that,” Zduriencik told Davidoff. “That’s just the way it is. It’s the nature of the business. You’ve got to have them to win.

“… I feel bad for Brian. I feel very bad for the Yankees. I wish this thing would’ve been a little different. But again, the fact that [Pineda] is so young, the fact that he’s strong, he should bounce back from this. They’re just going to have to wait a little bit for their rewards.”

It might be tough to hear, but Zduriencik is absolutely, 100 percent right. Pitchers are risky. It’s why some levelheaded fans questioned a good trade even from the start. Jesus Montero didn’t have a clear position, but there is a good chance that he eventually fulfills his potential at the plate. With Pineda – not only did he have to fulfill his potential, but he had to stay healthy to do it which is something that he obviously wasn’t able to do.

It’s important not to blame Zduriencik though. This wasn’t his fault, it was just a bad turn of events. The Yankees knew they were taking a risk but made the trade anyway because of the high cost of pitching and the fact that they had been trying for years now to upgrade the rotation in a similar way with no luck.

We don’t know how this deal will end up. Pineda could return in a year or two and be effective and Montero might end up just a DH. The reality is though that the Yankees are likely to regret this for a long time. It happened, it’s part of the game. Now Yankees fans just need to hope that Pineda doesn’t end up like most pitchers who have had shoulder surgery.

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4 Responses to Seattle’s GM says he feels bad but pitchers get hurt

  1. Tanned Tom says:

    Let's be honest though, Pineda's delivery is the dreaded inverse "W". Pitchers with this motion are far more likely to develop shoulder injuries early in their careers. Why can't NY be like Tampa and avoid pitchers with poor mechanics? I was unaware of Pineda's delivery, if Cashman wasn't then why did he make this trade?

    • The inverted W is not bad on its own necessarily. It's a warning sign, but a lot depends on the position of a pitcher's elbow, shoulders, and hips. Besides, inverted W leads to way more elbow injuries than shoulder injuries. So there is no reason to jump to the conclusion that you know what you are talking about.

    • Bronx_Knight says:

      OK, for the benefit of those BBD readers who don't own subscriptions to Pitching Mechanics Weekly, the inverted W refers to a delivery where the pitcher at one point has both of his elbows above the level of his shoulders, sort of like a bird flapping its wings. This pitching form is not necessarily bad, and, if anything, tends to be linked to elbow injuries. Some outstanding pitchers — like John Smoltz — had an inverted W delivery.

      Another delivery form is the inverted L, where the glove hand is held straight out and the throwing hand is crooked down at the elbow, forming an upside down "L." Joba has this form, and it may have been a factor in his history of shoulder and elbow injuries.

      Seconding Rob, I have not heard that Pineda's pitching form — whether a W or any other letter in the alphabet — was a factor in his shoulder injury. Most people are chalking it up to bad luck. Maybe Pineda was out of shape during the offseason and tried too hard to ramp up his velocity while experimenting with new pitches during spring training.

      If anything, rather than being a bad trade, maybe the Pineda injury reflects a tendency of the Yankees to scare the crap out of young pitchers and cause them to hurt themselves trying too hard.