To put it nicely, Michael Pineda did not have a good year for the Yankees last season.
Not only did Pineda have a poor 2016 season, he’s in the final year of his contract before he becomes a free agent. So it’s important for both Pineda and the Yankees that he has a good season.
Pineda had a headline-worthy career after the Yankees traded Jesus Montero for him in 2011. Pineda had multiple injuries along with a pine tar incident which landed him a 10-game suspension.
But Pineda is putting all of that behind him as he prepares for 2017. In fact, he’s not putting any pressure on himself going forward.
“I just want to give my team an opportunity to win games every five days, and when the season is over and you look at your numbers, you feel good and you’re proud of yourself.” Pineda said. “For me, watching my games last season and watching everything, this year I need to be more focused when there’s two outs. I need to be a better finisher.”
If Pineda plans on being a better finisher, he’s going to need to rely on his changeup more.
Pineda admits he wants to be a Yankee longer than the 2017 season, but he claims he has no control over that.
That may not entirely be the case.
If Pineda pitches like an All-Star in 2017, the Yankees might pay big money to keep Pineda.
“Michael has big time stuff and we need Michael to step up and do what he’s capable of doing,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said on Tuesday during his “State of the Yankees” address.
Pineda has the stuff to be a competitor in the Bronx. And teammate CC Sabathia thinks Pineda needs to put it all together in order to have the season Pineda is capable of.
“I always come in and say this is the year he’s going to win the Cy Young,” Sabathia said Tuesday. “He’s got so much talent, and he just needs to put it all together but he’s right there.”