New York Yankees starter Michael Pineda has a partially torn UCL per Brian Cashman and will need Tommy John surgery — unless a second opinion yields more positive news. The imposing righthander, who has shown flashes of brilliance during his five-year career, is 8-4 with a 4.39 ERA and 1.287 WHIP. His 8.6 K/9 is off his American League-leading 10.6 pace of last year.
His contributions are a significant factor in the Yankees’ surprising success during the first half. The youthful roster is performing far above expectations and within striking distance of Boston while currently holding a Wild Card spot. In his immediate reaction, Cashman sent a warning that the deep-pocketed club may not leverage the future to pick up an arm to fill Pineda’s spot.
And that seems prudent, considering what promises to be a bright, Aaron Judge-filled future. But while big names like Sonny Gray, Justin Verlander and Johnny Cueto may be too costly, there’s a few under-the-radar guys who could be added on the cheap.
Jeremy Hellickson of the Phillies sports a 3.95 career ERA and has spent most of his career in the AL East. Miami’s Dan Straily is 7-4 with a paltry 1.04 WHIP. St. Louis’ Lance Lynn is 7-6 with a 3.61 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. All three are veterans who could step right in.
One totally off-the-radar idea is to inquire about Detroit’s Anibal Sanchez. Since struggling mightily to crack the rotation and being demoted to the minors, Sanchez has been like his old self in four starts, going 1-0 with a 3.08 ERA. It could be a flash of false hope, but it may be a risk worth taking considering the bargain price.