Mar 18, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda (35) throws a pitch against the Boston Red Sox at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Yankees’ Doubleheader More Than Just Two Games


Apr 9, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) pitches against the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees will be playing a day/night doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs after Tuesday’s game was postponed due to rain. On the mound for the day game will be Masahiro Tanaka, followed by Michael Pineda for the nightcap. With these two very exciting young phenoms being center stage during the games the series promises to be very fun to watch and playing the historic Cubs only adds the enjoyment. But these games are more than just two of 150 remaining games. These two games will be showcasing the future of the New York Yankees’ organization in Tanaka and Pineda. Two talented 25-year-old hurlers will take the mound and display their ability in front of a crowd at Yankee Stadium, baseball’s biggest stage.

The Yankees traded with the Seattle Mariners for Michael Pineda before the start of 2012 season. The organization envisioned a superbly talented number two starter in their rotation behind their ace C.C. Sabathia. Of course that didn’t happen… right away. After two years away from baseball recovering from injury, Pineda returned this season and has been lights out in two starts so far. Pitching out of the fifth spot, Pineda has made veteran hitters look foolish by mixing his high-velocity fastball with his effective breaking pitches and dominating games. Masahiro Tanaka, of course, was acquired by the Yankees from the Rakuten Golden Eagles over the off-season via the new posting system and was billed as a “ready-made ace”. Despite early game trouble, Tanaka has lived up to his hype and fans in the Bronx are ecstatic over what they’ve seen. Tanaka has been pitching out of the fourth spot in the rotation and together with Pineda, they’ve formed a lethal back-end rotation. The Yankees want more.

Both Tanaka and Pineda could one day become the aces of the Yankees’ pitching staff and that’s exactly what everyone is hoping for. It’s easy to think of either one as frontline starters and in a few years they will be. The two young hurlers could one day rival baseball’s best one/two combinations and be centerpieces on the Yankees squad. The two games of the doubleheader, played just hours apart, will announce to baseball that the Yankees are going to be contenders down the road. But not without a little bit of work.

In 2015 Pineda will be up for arbitration before his first shot at free agency in 2018. The Yankees have recently put the “no contract extension” policy behind them after they extended outfielder Brett Gardner before this season. If Pineda continues to pitch like he has so far in 2014 (the Yankees would be in pretty good shape) extending Pineda during arbitration is an absolute MUST. It’s not uncommon as just this past off-season the Braves used arbitration periods to extend a multitude of young stars. As for Tanaka, he has an opt-out available after his 4th year with the Yankees and while he really seems to like New York right now, he could decide to take the option and become a free agent. If Tanaka assumes the role of New York Yankees’ ace by then, they will have to put up the coin to keep him in pinstripes. What a burden having millions of dollars to spend must be.

The Yankees don’t have to worry about opt-outs or arbitration right now but tomorrow should be very interesting. The future of the New York Yankees’ pitching staff will be displayed like the Rockefeller Christmas Tree today and hopefully they’ll impress against the Cubs. If nothing else, today’s games should be fun to watch. These two pitchers are very entertaining and as is the rest of the Yankees’ team. So, starting at one o’clock, grab a sandwich and some soda, plop yourself on that favorite spot on the couch and enjoy a full day of New York Yankees’ baseball. Relax… and watch the future unfold. Play ball!

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