Today the Yankees announced that Michael Pineda has a tear in his labrum and that he will likely be unavailable until at least next May. Even though Pineda had struggled with his velocity all spring, Yankee General Manager Brian Cashman believes that the tear occurred in a recent throwing session, though he concedes there was possibly an undetected injury plaguing Pineda all spring. As to whether the M's knew Pineda was hurt before the trade, it seems unlikely that he would have passed a physical if he was injured, and the Yankees have firmly stated that they traded for a healthy pitcher.
I think there are two take home points here. The first is that this is obviously a huge blow for Michael Pineda, and for fans of baseball in general. With a blazing fastball, devastating slider, and improving changeup, Pineda had the physical tools necessary to emerge as a true ace. To suffer a labrum tear this early in his career is devastating, as the shoulder (and the labrum specifically) is one of the very worst spots for a pitcher to have an injury. If there is any consolation, it's that his rotator cuff is undamaged. Nonetheless, he faces a long road back to the major leagues without any guarantee that his stuff will ever resemble what he had last season.
The second point is that this is just another example of the risk inherent in building around or tying up payroll in pitchers. Pitchers, particularly young ones with a dynamic arsenal, are enticing because of their promise, but they are incredibly volatile assets. The Mariners were fortunate to get value for Pineda before he got hurt. The most troubling part is just how unpredictable this kind of injury is: there isn't really any discernible reason why Pineda got hurt instead of, say, Felix Hernandez.
This is important when considering the future of the franchise. There is a lot of hope and promise tied up in Jackson's starting rotation right now and it's worth remembering that each of those guys is one pitch away from the shelf. I know that it's important to build a strong pitching staff but I won't be complaining if one or more of James Paxton, Danny Hultzen, or Taijuan Walker is dealt for an impact bat.
A la Michael Pineda.