Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 4/25/12

According to MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch, Michael Pineda has been diagnosed with an “anterior labral tear”, and surgery is set for May 1st. Compared to elbow surgery, which has become almost routine at this point, recoveries from shoulder problems have not gone nearly as well. Since we don’t know the extent of the tear, it is impossible to say that this is the worst case scenario for the Yankees, but it’s certainly not the news the team was hoping for.

Given that he’s having shoulder surgery next week, it’s probably safe to say that Pineda is done for the season. Even a minor procedure is going to put him on the shelf for months, and it’s not clear that there would be enough time left in the minor league season for him to build his arm strength back up to get back to where he would need to be to pitch in the Major Leagues. And, of course, this might not be a minor procedure.

Given that the Yankees parted with prized prospect Jesus Montero and an interesting young arm in Hector Noesi, this is definitely a setback for the franchise, but it’s worth noting that Jose Campos – the other arm received in the deal – has been extremely impressive for class-A Charleston and offers significant value to the franchise himself.

Pitchers are always a risky investment, and any time you pay a significant price for a young arm, you know that it could blow up on any given pitch. However, the consensus at the time of the deal is that it was a smart move for the Yankees to make, and an organization can’t entirely avoid acquiring pitchers simply due to a preference for risk avoidance. If you want a good pitching staff, you’re going to have to take some gambles on some young arms. The Yankees did, and in this case, it didn’t work. That doesn’t make it a bad idea, or a move that the Yankees front office should be criticized for making.


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