Discussion: The Market For Joel Pineiro

Joel Pineiro threw his first pitch as a major leaguer in 2000, as a member of the Seattle Mariners.  He stuck around in the Pacific Northwest for the next seven seasons, going 58-55 with a 4.48 ERA and a 5.9 K/9 over 996 innings (148 starts).  His best full season in Seattle came in 2002 when, as a 23-year-old, he finished 14-7 with a 3.24 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 6.3 K/9 and a 45.4% groundball percentage.  Pineiro was a much different pitcher back then.  He pitched mostly away from contact, and sought out high strikeout numbers.

These days you can find the right-handed Pineiro racking up gaudy groundball rates in St. Louis, under the tutelage of Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan.  He stands 14-11 this season with a 3.31 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 4.4 K/9 and a major league-leading 61.2% groundball percentage over 29 starts.  With a new style of pitching and some excellent season-long numbers, Pineiro enters free agency this winter. 

He's hoping to remain in St. Louis, where he has been able to revitalize his career, but the Cardinals probably won't have enough salary left for the right-hander if they opt to ink Mark DeRosa and/or Matt Holliday long term.  What other teams might have interest in the pitch-to-contact 30-year-old?  And what kind of contract can he realistically demand?  Kyle Lohse, for reference, was handed a four-year, $41 million deal in 2008 after posting a 3.78 ERA and 1.30 WHIP over 30 starts.



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