Breaking Down Yankees' Acquisitions of Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 21: Michael Pineda #36 of the Seattle Mariners delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins in the third inning on September 21, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The meager New York Yankees rotation from last season will have a new look come the opening of the 2012 season when they unveil their newest acquisitions of starting pitchers Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda.

After watching starters like A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes drop down the depth chart as far as humanly possible, the Yankees management knew that standing still wouldn’t help them get anywhere.

While the offseason was quiet up until just a few hours ago, the Yankees stole the show with two of the biggest power moves of the offseason. Add in the fact that the Yankees may not be done, and this could be a wild stretch towards spring training.

Michael Pineda

There may be no better prospect at the MLB level right now then the newly acquired Pineda. At 6’7” 260 pounds, the giant right-hander will be the No. 2 in what could be the most devastating starting combinations in all of baseball.

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While Pineda’s win-loss record was mediocre at best during his one-year MLB stay with the Seattle Mariners, it just proves that those stats are irrelevant to how good a pitcher truly is. Look to Pineda’s 173 strikeouts in 171 innings in his very first season to realize where his talent is going.

Add in a 3.74 ERA and you have a player that could win 15 games with the Yankees this year. Have CC Sabathia take him under his wing and Pineda could have 18 wins this season.

As much as losing a prospect like catcher Jesus Montero hurts the Yankees, Pineda will be the future of the pitching staff in New York for a long time.

Michael Pineda > Freddie Garcia

Jesus Montero

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: Jesus Montero #63 of the New York Yankees hits an RBI single in the second inning against the Boston Red Sox on September 24, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

As good as the Pineda move is for the starting rotation, the transaction didn’t come with no cost to the Yankees. They gave up one of the best catching prospects in all of baseball in Jesus Montero.

The 22-year-old came up late last season, but in just 18 games, he managed a stellar .328 batting average as well as four home runs and 12 RBI.

With Montero’s departure, coupled with the reports indicating that veteran Jorge Posada will retire, the pressure will fall on the duo of Russell Martin and Francisco Cervelli. While Cervelli is a good prospect, Martin emerged as an All-Star last season, which made the trade moving Montero easier to swallow.

Hiroki Kuroda

PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 27:  Starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda #18 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on September 27, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Peters
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Yankees GM Brian Cashman realized that the problems ran deeper than just adding one pitcher and having them all go away. That’s why he made a free agent splash by signing former Los Angeles Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda.

Since coming to the MLB just five years ago, Kuroda has been an innings eater. Even with an injury that sidelined him for latter half of the 2009 season, Kuroda still averages 175 innings pitched per season.

With a 3.07 ERA and 161 strikeouts, the Yankees have turned the bottom-third of their rotation into one of the best in the league. Add this potent pitching to their stellar offense and you have the most dangerous team in MLB.

Who’s Next?

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Carlos Pena #22 of the Chicago Cubs reacts after striking out during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on September 27, 2011 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty
Denis Poroy/Getty Images

With the pitching rotation much closer to complete than it was just a few hours ago, it may be time for New York to start hunting for the power bat off the bench and at DH that could be the right addition to the team.

The most interesting name so far has been Carlos Pena, formerly of the Chicago Cubs. While Pena has the power to hit a home run during any at-bat, his low batting average has kept teams from taking the chance.

According to MLB Network Radio, Pena has been in contact with the Yanks.

The Yankees have a plethora of legendary hitters and talented hitting coaches that could help shape Pena into a solid bench player who also can play first base or DH. Pena would be a versatile add that wouldn’t cost much money and could turn into something special with some TLC.

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