They say a team is only as strong as it’s weakest player so when a nationally recognized Major League baseball team like the New York Yankees has a team stuffed to the brim with talent it becomes much harder to locate the weak link in the chain. However after Wednesday April 23rd’s game against the Boston Red Sox the New York Yankees saw a gaping tear in their figurative fence.
Pitcher Michael Pineda is someone who worked all through spring training to show the New York Yankees team and manager Joe Girardi that he was ready to play for the Bombers, and although Pineda is hardly the worst player on the team he might just be too good to be true.
Now Pineda is hardly the first pitcher in the league or on the New York Yankees roster to use pine tar, but after a warning earlier this season it is hard to forgive him for putting a slab of the sticky substance on his neck and getting the New York Yankees franchise in trouble. Despite my anger for the situation it is completely on Pineda’s shoulders now and after admitting to using the substance he cannot really dispute the claim.
While pitchers and hitters alike use pine tar to get a better grip on the ball or the bat it is apparently only accepted in cold or windy conditions and if concealed by the player. That seems to be the problem, Pineda’s blatant use of the product. When asked about it Pineda said:“I apologize to my teammates, and to everybody, I’ll learn from this mistake. It won’t happen again.”
This is a post designed to address the problem player on the team that is bringing them down or preventing them from having more success, and while Pineda is known for being a young and powerful pitcher he is currently on my radar as the worst player on the roster right now. Simply because the New York Yankees are in no position to mess around with suspensions and further ramifications for disobedience of the league’s rules, especially when the team captain is set to retire and Ivan Nova is out for the remainder of the season due to injuries needing surgical attention.
A 10 game suspension for the pitcher is a good start, and while some New York Yankees fans see it as unfair manager Joe Girardi stated that the team will deal with the ramifications of Pineda’s actions, and he respects the Red Sox and the umpire for requesting a check of Pineda’s neck for traces of the clearly visible pine tar substance.
What can we do to prevent this from happening again? Well like I said a suspension from starting is a good place to begin, but also rethinking the use of someone who is clearly not confident in his own abilities is at hand for the team. If a player is showing insecurities this early in the season it might be time to allow a stronger player to step in and make an asset of himself. I suggest using David Robertson more often, especially while Pineda is down and out. We don’t need to draft or trade a new pitcher when our bullpen is chalk full of arms warming up to prove their skills. After all, Robertson isn’t referred to as the closer for nothing!
For more on the New York Yankees go here