As longtime Squawker readers know, I opposed trading for Michael Pineda from Day One. And even though, two years later, it turns out that Jesus Montero hasn't turned out as planned, I still have some real doubts about Pineda.
Sure, he has pitched well this season. But he also has some strange addiction to pine tar, something that maybe could be featured on that TLC show. How self-destructive do you have to be to 1) lie the first time you are caught with pine tar, claiming it was "dirt," and 2) when you have to know the Red Sox are watching your every move, go put the pine tar on again in the second inning against your team's toughest rivals. And 3) do it so blatantly, too -- how is it I could see from watching the TV at the gym that he had pine tar on his neck, but apparently Joe Girardi didn't (or didn't care)?
After all, baseball isn't just about having strong skills; it is about being mentally strong. And about keeping your team in the game. And while I did actually feel a little sorry for Pineda after the game, when he seemed overwhelmed by the crush of reporters, I don't ultimately have a heck of a lot of sympathy for him.
Nor do I have much sympathy for the Yankees organization as a whole. Either they didn't know Pineda has the pine tar on his neck, which shows that they are not paying attention, or they did know, and they didn't care. Or perhaps they were dumb enough to think that John Farrell wouldn't do anything this time, even though he didn't have a pine tar using pitcher on the mound this time. (It is hard to swallow, though, that Farrell is so concerned about this issue, given how some of his own pitchers cheat the same way. Not to mention David Ortiz. But I digress.)
Here's the thing that most concerns me. I have no idea whether the pine tar somehow actually does something to make Pineda pitch better this year. But I think he thinks it does. So after he got rocked in the first inning, he went back to it. And that addiction to it should be very concerning to those in Yankeeland.