Oh boy, this is awkward.
Michael Pineda is injured. He’s been diagnosed with a torn labrum and torn labrums are not good. Not good at all. Many have outlined the bleak outlook involved with an injury of this kind, so I’ll paraphrase to say that the history of pitchers recovering from a torn labrum and the subsequent surgery is not encouraging. Some work very hard and make it back, many work very hard and do not.
Upon hearing this news, it’s almost impossible to avoid thinking about the trade Pineda was involved in during the offseason. If you’re a Mariners fan like me, it’s fully impossible. It’s a silly and unimportant reaction but an honest one all the same. Baseball fans love trades, they love thinking and talking about them and trying to figure out which team “won” and which team “lost.” Right now, it’s easy to look at the trade that sent Pineda and Jose Campos to New York and Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi to Seattle and conclude that the Mariners “won” the trade. That would be premature and reactionary but it would be understandable. The big piece that went to New York is hurt badly, the big piece that went to Seattle is not. It seems pretty simple. In reality, we have another five years or more before anyone can conclusively evaluate who got the better end of the deal. There are so many variables involved and baseball games to be played in five years of time. Also, that’s really not important right now. What’s important is Micheal Pineda’s shoulder and the living breathing human being attached to it. I want to emphasize that point because I’m about to wade into the petty and irrational waters of fandom very soon and the
temperature is ice cold up in there.
There’s a small yet conspicuous part of me that felt a tinge of a positive feeling upon hearing of Pineda’s injury. I wouldn’t go so far as to term the feeling “happiness,” because despite my general surly and unfeeling disposition I’m not a complete and total monster. But there was something there—an emotional and instinctual spark of vindication that quickly subsided once my rational mind caught up with my devilish heart. This is not an attractive feeling to admit to having. Please take pity on my weakness of being. I’m a fan of the Seattle Mariners and in my deepest darkest depths I’m not unhappy to see the scale tip in their favor concerning a previously agreed upon blockbuster trade. The fact that this trade was with the New York Yankees is also not altogether insignificant, but that’s best left unexplored for now.
Right now, we Mariners fans are conflicted, ambivalent. It’s common knowledge that Michael Pineda grew up a fan of the Yankees, and when he was traded to them he was happy. Some people held this against him but they were wrong to do so. It was the culmination of a lifetime of hard work, the realization of a childhood dream—who could begrudge another person such a thing? I feel badly for Michael Pineda. Very badly. I hope he makes a full and successful recovery. I wasn’t crazy about the trade that sent him to New York in the first place. There are many reasons for that but one was certainly that Pineda is so likeable. He was a Mariner and he was good. We had followed his path all the way to the Majors and he finally made it and he did not disappoint. We constructed future rotations with Pineda firmly entrenched in the number two spot. We envisioned All-Star appearances and World Series victories because that’s what fans do. Then he got traded away to the Yankees. Then he struggled to start the season. Then he got diagnosed with a career threatening shoulder injury. This is a strange and unnerving journey for fans to experience with a player. It’s confusing. There are no winners here, just baseball players and baseball fans and every one of them a real person.