Joel Pineiro Vs. The Mets: Who Was Serious About A Deal?

We heard all winter that the Mets were interested in free-agent starter Joel Pineiro, and at one point it appeared as if New York had a two-year offer worth around $15MM on the table to the right-hander.  Pineiro ended up signing with the Angels for slightly more money and it simply appeared that the Halos won a bidding war that also included the Dodgers.

John Harper of the New York Daily News, however, revealed a bit more to the story in an interview with the veteran right-hander.  According to Pineiro, he had heard from neighbor Alex Cora that the Mets were going to make Pineiro a top target of their winter shopping, and the right-hander was more than willing to hear New York out.  However, the club allegedly never made an offer to Pineiro until the Angels had already moved in and that $15MM offer "may well have been for the sake of appearance" since the Mets knew Los Angeles had made a bigger offer.

Adam Rubin of ESPN New York has the Mets' take on the situation, which is unsurprisingly different.  According to team representatives, they Mets "were willing to meet or narrowly exceed" the contract that Pineiro got from the Angels, but the club felt that "Pineiro wasn't sincere" in his desire to become a Met.

Given that the difference between the Mets' purported offer and Pineiro's Los Angeles contract was only $1MM, it's hard to believe that the Mets couldn't have made up that gap if they were really serious about bringing Pineiro to the Big Apple.  If "the sake of appearance" is as important to the Mets as Harper's article claims, then making the larger offer would've allowed the Mets to say offered the most money but the onus was on Pineiro for turning it down.

This kind of free agent gamesmanship no doubt occurs a dozen times over every winter, but in this case, it stands out given the small dollar amount involved and (as Harper points out) the major struggles of the Mets' pitching staff early in the season.  It's also possible that both sides were playing a game of chicken with the other and, in this case, both blinked. 

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26 Comments on "Joel Pineiro Vs. The Mets: Who Was Serious About A Deal?"

5 years 4 months ago

I think it was more of the fact that the Mets were extremely far off from contending, and the Angels offered him the best chance at winning.

5 years 4 months ago

Completely agree.

5 years 4 months ago

I’m a Mets fan. Die-hard at that. And I’m willing to bet that the Mets are full of it here. What they’re saying is not credible.

The Mets didn’t make him an offer which matched or narrowly exceeded the Angels, as evidenced by the Mets’ statement (“were willing to,” not “offered”). And if the Mets wanted to assert that Piniero did not give them the chance to match, they could have come out and said it! Instead, you get some odd spin: “Team officials have claimed for months that Pineiro wasn’t sincere in his interest in the club, in their estimation.” Seems to me that, rather than make the pitcher an offer, the team preferred to try and read his mind.

Glove Affair
5 years 4 months ago

Well, it wouldn’t be the first time for that – would it?!

5 years 4 months ago

Wouldn’t be the first time this week, I fear.

Glove Affair
5 years 4 months ago

Yeah, no joke!

5 years 4 months ago

$100 says this story wouldn’t have been written if either Piniero pitched lousy yesterday and/or the Mets won.

Would Piniero have been an upgrade for the Mets’ rotation? Yeah. But that’s like saying having hepatitis would be an upgrade over pancreatic cancer.

5 years 4 months ago

Really, what’s the point of these stories? Every week its another story about a would be free agent and the Mets. First it was Bengie Molina, now Pineiro. Give it a rest already.

5 years 4 months ago

If a sports reporter can write an story that makes the Mets or any NY team look bad, they will always do it.

5 years 4 months ago

I said it in another post but this team should have gone after Lackey as their primary target over Bay IMO. Their pitching needed more help than anything and Santana and Lackey would have been an excellent 1/2. Their offense would have been fine with what they had and an upgrade at catcher and a slightly cheaper upgrade in LF like Ankiel or Nady

5 years 4 months ago

Lackey was overpaid because A.J. was overpaid last year and because he was the best FA pitcher. I think Mets fans should be glad they didn’t shell out 80MM+ for Lackey.

5 years 4 months ago

On the money

5 years 4 months ago

It’s funny how people were bashing the Mets b/c the Red Sox (and only them) said he has a potential knee problem. Yet they go out and sign Lackey for 5 years when he started the last 2 seasons injured. I’ll be shocked if Lackey doesn’t have TJ surgery by the end of that contract.

5 years 4 months ago

Where are all those Omar haters that were bashing him for not picking up Ben Sheets…?

Lets see what happens when Piniero faces the same lineups in the 2nd half of the season..

Piniero…with a much better ball club than the mets last year…was a 15 game winner…

Pelfrey…who had an up and down year…with a met team straight out of SNL…was a 10 game winner…

put pelfrey on the cards last year and he wins 18 games..

put piniero on the mets last year and he wins 10 games..

now if webb/oswalt prove to be healthy and are on the MUCH rather either one of those guys..
also zito looks to have turned the corner and may be a chip if the giants want to acquire offense and dump salary…

give omar credit where it is due

East Coast Bias
5 years 4 months ago

You want to give Omar credit for not going after certain pitchers, fine. But then also hold him accountable for not signing at least ONE starting pitcher this off season when it was a glaring need of the team.

PS: Sheets’ last outing was not bad. Jury’s still out on how well both Sheets and Piniero will perform down the road. So let’s not jump to conclusions just yet.

5 years 4 months ago


Name ONE starting pitcher…with a solid consistent GOOD career record who
actually wanted to play for the mets…and was available

pitchers with spotty medical histories do not apply…
this immediately eliminates ben sheets…John Lackey ( who was overpaid AND
had a questionable medical history ) and possibly Joel Piniero….after all
the injuries last year…can u imagine the backlash the mets would’ve gotten
if they sign Lackey and his elbow blows out year one…

pitchers who were traded by division rivals do not
this eliminates Javy Jonrun Vasquez and Cliff Lee

Any mention of Jason Marquis will only inspire laughter and ridicule.


East Coast Bias
5 years 4 months ago

You keep pigeonholing yourself into a corner by placing all these stipulations and you’re going to eliminate a good chunk of the pitchers out there in any market.

I’m all for making the “smart” play, but when the leadership team going into the off season emphasizes pitching pitching pitching, and then is unable to sign even ONE starting pitcher, that is a failure.

Any signing has a risk/reward involved. You cannot just eliminate everyone because they have a medical history. You’re delusional if you believe that. The evidence is that some team eventually signs these people you are clamoring about. Risk. Reward. Learn it.

Personally, I believe Sheets and Piniero will pitch a lot better this year than Maine and Ollie. But only time will tell. And if Pelf is projecting into the number 2, I also believe Lackey will do better in the AL East than Pelf will do in the NL East. You threw out the notion that Pelf would do a lot better on the Cards, I’m curious how you projected Lackey in the NL East. Much better, I assume?

And to close, do you really think no one wanted to play in NY? C’mon man. Get real. Every player (or their agent) says that in hopes of squeezing the most money out of the team. It’s just a tactic, stop drinking the koolaid. Nobody wants to play in NY…until they see the $$$ and then sign with NY, then the rhetoric changes to “I always wanted to play in NY!” We’ve seen it all too many times.

5 years 4 months ago

First off, what is management SUPPOSED to say during the off-season…one
which saw a 20% dropoff in attendence and 26 million dollar loss in

Guys I know our pitching stunk…but there are no true alternatives we can
sign without the potential for backlash…We would rather wait and see if
Brandon Webb/Roy Oswalt/Barry Zito/Cliff Lee become available during the

and of course every signing has a degree of risk in it…there is a reason
why there was NO backlash over the Johan Santana sign/trade and Omar gets
bashed every day for the Ollie/Castillo deals he penned a couple of years

I will say that the leadership does promote one thing and does another which
insults the intelligence of their fan base. Also, not only do they fly by
the seat of their pants, they dont seem to have one head that makes
decisions but 3 or 4..

Jerry wanted Mejia in the pen…Omar wanted to send down Mejia…Jerry wins
that battle

Jerry wanted Davis to play 1B…Omar wanted to keep Ike down…Omar wins
that battle

Now as far as pitching is concerned …with 150 + games and 3 months left
before the trade deadline, I think it is premature to judge the makeup of
our pitching staff…

dont judge a meal before it is cooked and served.

East Coast Bias
5 years 4 months ago

Heh, you don’t get it. When there is a 20% drop off in attendance and revenue is down 26 mil, as you just stated, it doesn’t matter what the organization SAYS. It does matter, however, what an organization DOES! So back to my original point, the Mets (and everyone else) knew their rotation was lacking going into the season, yet still, they managed to sign not even ONE starter. To reiterate, you simply cannot let Omar off the hook for his incompetence and inability to sign one name.

Personally, and you probably disagree, but I would have taken a risk on Ben Sheets for 10m. It would be a 1 year contract, and he would be out to prove himself to get a longer and better contract for 2011. What’s the worse that could have happened? He lands on the DL and misses time or is just plain horrible? Guess what, that was Ollie last year, and most likely, this year. In that scenario, you eat the 10m (lets not forget, the Mets budget is near the top) and still have money next off season for Cliff Lee et al.

Regardless of how you spin it, I disagree with not signing one starter this past off season. And it will be very difficult, or impossible, to make me see it another way. I’m sure many other Mets fans share my sentiment.

5 years 4 months ago

Because the same fans that are applauding in December and January will be
screaming bloody murder when Oswalt/Lee/Webb/Zito are made available and
ownership cries that they have hit their spending limit..everyone is going
to wonder why they paid Sheets ( who has been on the DL almost every year of
his career )…or Piniero…who has been Ollie-like his entire career minus
his one year with Duncan…or Marquis…a career .500 pitcher…

the only pitcher that was a decent #2 pitcher was Lackey, Boston OVERPAID
to snatch him and he NEVER wanted to come to NY..any other pitcher would
have given the Mets similar results to what they have now…their time to
pick up a legit #2 was last year when AJ Burnett and CC Sabathia were both
on the market at the same time….this off-season there was nothing
there…or at least nothing worth spending close to 10 mil and up and

the season is NOT DONE yet…and they STILL HAVE OPTIONS…

what part of this equation are you having trouble understanding?????

East Coast Bias
5 years 4 months ago

Of course Boston overpaid, as I said, Lackey was the top dog in a weak pool. He was going to get his money regardless. My point is Mets should have overpaid for Lackey rather than Bay to strengthen their rotation. If not Lackey, at least Sheets for 10m/1yr, who has been proven as a Brewer. Yes, he’s injury prone, but so is the entire current rotation Mets are fielding. If not him, then SOMEONE…ANYONE! I get it, season’s not over, but you can hold Omar responsible for his mistake(s) THUS FAR for not signing ANYONE in the offseason. Now, according to you, if they make a push for a Webb, Oswalt, or another, rather than just spending money, which the Mets have a lot of (remember, they still play in NY), they will have to part with top prospects to get someone, and that pitcher will not be with the team for a full 2010. Doesn’t make sense.

Adding CAPS and multiple ???? is not going to get your point across. I got it ages ago. I just disagree with it. Do YOU understand????

PS: Sheets being an injury concern. EVERYONE you mentioned is an injury risk.
Webb – I can’t even remember the last time he pitched.
Oswalt – Back issues, which linger every season it seems.
Lee – On the DL now.
Zito I’m not even going to go into because one minute you’re throwing around the notion of Mets being bankrupt if they had signed a pitcher through free agency, then next minute you’re talking about trading for one of the worse contracts in baseball, if not the absolute worst. Plus, he’s just not that good!

Quite some contradictions you’ve amassed, sir. Care to explain?

5 years 4 months ago

First off, if you can read your own writing, you began the whole using CAPS
thing to accentuate a point. Now of course when you have it done to you you
make it an issue. whatever.

and again…your claim to sign “SOMEONE…ANYONE!” makes no sense. The
pitchers in our rotation can pitch at nearly the same level as the people
that were available. Lackey was never going to come to NY. When are you
going to realize he was never an option.

the trade scenarios are based on several assumptions. One is that the Mets
are in contention, Two is that the teams in which those pitchers play for
are not in contention. Three is that any pitcher the Mets would target would
have a clean bill of health.

Now in terms of trading a top prospect, I dont think any of those pitchers
outside of Oswalt is going to command a top prospect.

Lee is a rental, if Seattle falls out of contention, they would have 2
months to find a suitor, its not a def that they command a top prospect. And
as far as his stint on the DL…its an abdomen strain..and he is due to come
back soon

Webb is a project who will be a free agent at the end of the year. unlikely
they trade for him, but if he proves to be healthy, he can be an option

Zito is a salary dump but if the mets include a bat (
pagan…matthews…carter ? )…I can see the giants picking up a good
portion of the salary.

East Coast Bias
5 years 4 months ago

Okay, now you’ve lost it. So you actually think that Ollie can pitch just as well as Sheets or Piniero? You’re starting to sound silly. Don’t kid yourself, no one on the Mets rotation save Mr. Santana is as good as those two. Besides silly, you’re sounding like a homer. Pelf is average, rest are below average.

Didn’t Lee have an ab strain last year too? Webb is always injured, as is Oswalt. My point, since you still don’t seem to understand, is that the three people you listed are also injury risks, just as Sheets is. Yet you would rather trade prospects for half a year of their [potentially injured] service, than sign Sheets to see what he has for a one year [potentially injured] deal. Your argument just doesn’t make any logical, business, financial, longterm, or any other kind of sense.

Again, Zito is not good. He’ll never live up to that contract. Why trade for him? You would rather throw money away on Zito for multiple years, rather than 10m for a year on Sheets? Again, not making much sense.

Omar messed up by not signing a FA pitcher. It’s not brain surgery. It is the consensus of multiple sources within and without baseball. Mets needed pitching and they didn’t get any. Fail. Now, if they trade for one this season, they will only perpetuate their ineptitude. Rather than spend money on a full year, you want to spend prospects from a weakened farm for half a year? I’m glad you aren’t a GM.

Cut your losses, wait for next year’s FA season and sign a top end pitcher like you should have this past off season. Simple.

5 years 4 months ago

everything must be looked at in context.

since 2007, Oliver Perez has a better win %, 1 less win, a better ERA, more
K per 9 innings, and a better WHIP than Piniero.
( who by the way played on better teams than the 2007-2009 Mets. )

these numbers include Ollie’s disaster of a year last year and also
Piniero’s great year.

Sorry, just because the Mets had a poor year on the mound doesnt turn
Piniero and Sheets into Ford and Gibson.

yes, Lee had an ab strain last spring…how much time did he miss ? …I’ll
give u a hint…ALOT less than Sheets

East Coast Bias
5 years 4 months ago

Man, you really hate Warthen!

East Coast Bias
5 years 4 months ago

Can’t disagree with that. They need to pry St Louis’ pitching coach to NY.