Cheating is a sensitive subject in the world of baseball.
So when a player cheats so blatantly, almost as if he wants to get caught, he should expect consequences.
That's exactly what happened to Michael Pineda.
After he was ejected from a game Wednesday against the Boston Red Sox for using pine tar, Major League Baseball has suspended him for 10 games.
Yankees RHP Michael Pineda suspended 10 games, starting tonight, for possessing a foreign substance during Wednesday’s game at Fenway Park.— MLB (@MLB) April 24, 2014
While the New York Yankees will temporarily suffer from the absence of one of their starters, it is Pineda who will be affected most by this lapse in judgment—and for much longer than 10 days.
How it Affects the Yankees
With Pineda expected to miss two starts, the Yankees need to find a starter to replace him in the rotation.
If Pineda was injured and New York needed a long-term replacement for him, a call-up might make sense. However, since he'll only be gone for a short time and because it's still so early in the season, Girardi will likely choose someone who is already on the major league roster.
Luckily for him, he has David Phelps, a ready-made arm with plenty of starting experience.
In 2012, he started 11 games, going 2-2 with a 3.77 ERA. In 2013, he started 12 and went 5-4 with a 4.93 ERA (per Baseball Reference).
Those aren't overly impressive numbers by any means, but they're respectable.
The other reason Phelps is such a logical candidate is that, because he took the ball from Pineda after he was ejected, he'll be on regular rest for what is scheduled to be Pineda's next start.
Taking Phelps out of the bullpen and inserting him into the starting rotation will shorten the Yankees' relief staff, but it will also give Joe Girardi a starter with whom he is familiar and feels comfortable sending out to the mound.
Pineda's boneheaded decision might have had much severer consequences on other ballclubs, but due to the Yankees' solid in-house options to replace him—the recently demoted Bryan Mitchell is another one— it shouldn't be too big of a hump to get over.
How it Affects Pineda
In 2014, decisions like the one that Pineda made can have lasting consequences on a player's reputation.
This isn't to say that using an illegal substance 10 years ago wouldn't have upset just as many people (there was a similar outcry after Kenny Rogers' pine tar incident), but those fans didn't have the means to express their opinions the way they're able to today.
Within minutes of Pineda's ejection, the Twitterverse was abuzz with baseball fans sharing their displeasure for his antics:
My reaction to Michael Pineda getting caught with hiding pine tar on his body.... again. pic.twitter.com/Ldv2fR83ey— Baseball Players (@baseball_lifee) April 24, 2014
The nature of the world in which we live today is that incidents like this take a very, very long time to pass. Pineda should expect to see his name trending during his next few starts following the suspension, and the posts aren't going to be nice.
Is a 10-Game Suspension Satisfactory?
In a sport where players like Ryan Braun have become infamous more for the way they handled themselves after they were caught than because they were caught in the first place, all eyes will be on Pineda for the rest of the season.
Playing in Major League Baseball and on a stage as big as New York already puts a tremendous amount of pressure on Pineda.
The fact that the majority of baseball fans will now view him as a cheater and someone stupid enough to cheat twice in the span of two weeks only adds to the weight on his shoulders.