Extending These Three Yankees Should Be a Priority This Winter
It’s possible that all three of the established starting pitchers currently on the Yankees roster will depart after next season if the front office doesn’t take action to retain them. One pitcher from that group who might be particularly amenable to an extension because he hasn’t yet received a big payday in his career is Michael Pineda.
According to Baseball-Reference, Big Mike has earned $8.4 million to date over the course of his career and MLB Trade Rumors projects him to earn another $7.8 million in his final year of arbitration. That’s nowhere near what he’d rake in on the free agent market, even with his performance as frustratingly inconsistent as it has been.
Of course, Pineda has hardly been the picture of health in his career, and could be more willing than most to take a smaller, but certain paycheck this winter. He missed almost all of the 2012-2013 seasons with a serious shoulder injury, as well as half of his 2014 starts with a back issue. Mike has been pretty healthy the last two years, but he could go from an
Mike has been pretty healthy the last two years, but he could potentially go from an eight-figure contract to a non-guaranteed deal with just one twinge in his right shoulder. If the Yankees offer something reasonable, he would likely give it some serious thought.
So what would a Pineda extension look like? Jeff Samardzija set the bar for talented but underperforming starters pretty high last winter with his five year $90 million contract. Shark had a longer track record and fewer health issues than Pineda, but Big Mike is four years younger than Samardzija was when he signed his deal.
Mike Leake was roughly Pineda’s age when he signed his five year $80 million deal last winter. Leake doesn’t have Pineda’s upside, but he’s definitely been more consistent. If Leake, Shark, and Ian Kennedey can get five years, that’s probably about the right length for Pineda.
Since its an extension, the Yankees would need to get some kind of discount to make it worth the risk on their part. I think five years at $13 million annually from 2017-2021 (Pineda’s age 28-32 seasons) would make sense for both sides. He could probably land $15-plus million per year as a free agent this year, so
Pineda could probably land $15-plus million per year as a free agent this year, and more next year if he finally has that breakout campaign everyone’s been waiting for the last two seasons. New York gets a little bit of certainty in their long-term rotation picture. For all his faults, Pineda has front of the rotation stuff, and talent like his is worth betting on.