Saturday, January 14, 2012

Yankees make a big trade and sign Hiroki Kuroda to join the winter party

The New York Yankees in a span of 45 minutes went from a very good team with some pitching questions to a World Series favorite.  How did they do it, what did they get and what did they give up??  I will discuss all of that in this blog post.  I do want to start by saying I like the two moves they did make but I also think there is more to this and something else is going to come up. 

The Yankees first traded away their projected DH and backup catcher Jesus Montero, they also included Hector Noesi who they were high on and he had a good winter ball showing to the Mariners for Michael Pineda who made the All-Star team in his rookie season.  Pineda is 23 years old and throws mainly a fastball and slider but has a changeup that if he can work on that and make it a good pitch, he will be very dangerous.  The Yankees gave up a possible 30-100 type of guy but pitching wins and the Yankees can rotate the DH spot or pick up a veteran such as Carlos Pena or Johnny Damon.  I am interested to see what everyone else thinks about the DH spot. 

The Yankees quickly then signed Hiroki Kuroda to a one year deal worth 10 million.  The Yankees have been after him for a couple of years.  Kuroda came over from Japan in 2008 and has played all four years in the majors with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Kuroda is a control, groundball pitcher.  He should slide right into the #3 slot in the rotation behind Sabathia and Pineda.  It will be interesting to see what the Yankees do with the other starters as they now have seven starters for five spots.  I think more moves are coming but some people think Phil Hughes will go back to the bullpen and Freddy Garcia could be used as a longman.  I think the Yankees will continue to look and trade away A.J. Burnett but not so sure they can do that without picking up a significant portion of his salary. 

Here are the career stats on both pitchers the Yankees picked up and then also Monteros stats he picked up in September while with the Yankees. 

Michael Pineda:28 games started, 171 innings, 133 hits allowed, 76 runs allowed and 71 earned runs, 18 homeruns, 55 walks, 173 strikeouts.  His record was 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA and 1.10 WHIP.  The batting average against him was 211.  To be fair he had a fantastic first half and then dropped off.  He did start to pitch even a little better then he was in September.  Pineda will turn 22 though on Wednesday.  The worry with him is that he could be injury prone because of his mechanics, if he stays healthy and refines his changeup he could be a devastating pitcher for a long time. 

Hiroki Kuroda:In 2008 he was 9-10, 8-7 in 2009, 11-13 in 2010 and 13-16 in 2011.  He has averaged 174 innings pitched a season and has a career ERA of 3.45.  His highest ERA was 3.76 and his lowest was 3.07 this past year.  He averages just over two walks per nine innings and his career and 6.7 strikeouts per nine innings in his career. He gives up less then a homerun per nine innings.  Kuroda is a very solid middle of the rotation type of guy who should slide in nicely behind the big two of Sabathia and Pineda. 

Jesus Montero:In September with the Yankees he finally showed his potential batting 328 with four homeruns and 12 RBI with a 406 on base percentage and a 590 slugging percentage.  In the postseason he was 2-2 with an RBI.   He played in 18 games and had 61 at bats in the regular season.  The Yankees didn't want to part with him but to get what they consider a top of the rotation guy, they had no choice.  The Yankees did also give up Hector Noesi in the deal who they liked but they have so many other pitching prospects he was expendable and they also got in return a 19 year old pitcher Campos who a lot of people project can also be a high end starter. 

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