Joel Pineiro Rumors

Phillies Release Joel Pineiro

The Phillies announced that they released right-hander Joel Pineiro. The Wasserman Media Group client signed a minor league deal with the Phillies in January and would have earned $1.5MM on the MLB roster.

Pineiro started 24 games for the Angels in 2011, posting a 5.13 ERA with 3.8 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 145 2/3 innings. There wasn't room for the 33-year-old on the Phillies' staff, however. As a veteran player who had a Major League deal in 2011, Pineiro would have obtained $100K if the Phillies had assigned him to the minor leagues.


Quick Hits: Appel, Angels, Uehara, Garland, Oswalt

On this day in 1982, the Padres traded Ozzie Smith, Steve Mura, and Al Olmsted to the Cardinals for Luis DeLeon, Sixto Lezcano and Garry Templeton.  The trade was sparked by both Smith and Templeton having issues with their respective teams.  Here's a look at today's links..

  • Stanford righty Mark Appel isn't a lock for the No. 1 pick in the draft, writes ESPN's Keith Law (Insider req'd). Appel touched 97mph in the first inning of his first start, but sat 91-95mph for the next six innings and doesn't command his fastball well enough in the zone to miss as many bats as he should, says Law. Law also looks at some Stanford hitters who should go high in the draft and notes some impressive velocity from around the country yesterday.
  • The Angels have hired former big leaguers Gary Varsho and Jeff Cirillo as scouts, tweets ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.
  • Rangers reliever Koji Uehara wants to get his situation settled and know where he's playing this season, writes T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com.  Texas has been talking with clubs about a possible deal, including the Athletics.
  • The Indians are still working through details in their talks with Jon Garland, tweets Jordan Bastian of MLB.com.  The pitcher was originally set to undergo a physical on Monday but that now seems unlikely.
  • When asked about adding Roy Oswalt or anyone else, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak told reporters, "We're always open for business here," tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.
  • Dusty Baker only has one year remaining on his contract, but the Reds skipper says that he isn't concerned about it, writes Mark Sheldon of MLB.com.
  • Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner told Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter) that he hasn't heard from the team about a long-term contract yet.
  • Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter) has the contract figures on two minor league signings from earlier this offseason.  Joel Pineiro will earn $1.5MM if he makes the big league roster with the Phillies while Ryan Spilborghs will receive a $1MM base salary if he's in the majors with the Indians.

Phillies Sign Joel Pineiro

The Phillies officially signed Joel Pineiro to a minor league contract with a spring training invite today.  Pineiro is represented by Wasserman Media Group.

Pineiro, 33, pitched to a 5.13 ERA with just 3.8 K/9 in 145 2/3 innings for Angels last year while battling shoulder tightness. After earning his two-year, $16MM deal from the Halos thanks to a 60.5% ground ball rate and 1.14 BB/9 with the Cardinals in 2009, those rates fell to a still solid 48.3% and 2.35 BB/9 in 2011. Pineiro will give the team some back of the rotation protection behind Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels. Vance Worley and Joe Blanton figure to round out the starting staff, though the latter was limited to just 41 1/3 innings last year due to elbow problems.

ESPN's Jayson Stark first reported the agreement on Sunday.



Central Notes: Twins, Pineiro, Garland, Wood

The NL Central got a little tougher when the Reds acquired Mat Latos on Saturday, but they're still looking to upgrade their pitching further. Here's the latest from baseball's two central divisions…


Los Angeles Notes: Loney, Kershaw, Pineiro

On this date in 1948, the Brooklyn Dodgers acquired announcer Ernie Harwell from the Atlanta Crackers for catcher Cliff Dapper in an unconventional trade that the Dodgers won easily. Here's the latest on L.A.'s two teams…

  • James Loney tells Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times that he loves playing for the Dodgers and hopes the team wants him back in 2012. The first baseman is under team control next year, but would earn a raise from $4.875MM if the Dodgers offer arbitration, which makes him a prime non-tender candidate.
  • Clayton Kershaw was the National League's pitcher of the month in July and his season numbers are now more impressive than ever. The 23-year-old has a 2.68 ERA with a league-leading 177 strikeouts, a career-best rate of 2.3 BB/9 and a career-best 13 wins. It should all translate into a salary of $5MM or more next year, when Kershaw is arbitration eligible for the first time.
  • Angels GM Tony Reagins tells Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times that having lots of powerful bats at first base is a "good problem." Kendrys Morales, Mark Trumbo and C.J. Cron give the Angels an abundance of power at first base and Reagins says situations like this "have a way of working themselves out."
  • The Angels are considering replacing the struggling Joel Pineiro in the rotation, according to Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com (on Twitter). It's not clear whether the Angels will look to the bullpen, the minors or outside of the organization.

Quick Hits: Aardsma, Angels, Padres

Saturday Night Links..


Players Who Were Once Designated For Assignment

We see it all the time. Most weeks a handful of players are designated for assignment and more often than not casual fans barely notice. A DFA indicates that a team is willing to part with a player – sometimes for nothing. But sometimes those players come back from DFAs to become stars in the major leagues. Here's a list of some current players who have been designated for assignment:

  • David Aardsma – The Red Sox acquired Aardsma after the White Sox designated him for assignment in 2008. A year later, the Mariners traded for Aardsma, who became the team's closer and posted impressive rates of 10.1 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9.
  • Mike Adams – Adams was designated for assignment in 2006, before he posted absurdly low ERAs and regularly struck out more than a batter per inning.
  • Milton Bradley – The Padres acquired Bradley from the A's after Bradley was designated for assignment in 2007. Bradley hit .313/.414/.590 for the Padres and led them to a one game playoff with the Rockies for the Wild Card spot. Of course Bradley didn't play in game 163, since he tore his ACL while manager Bud Black restrained him during an on-field argument earlier in the month.
  • Russell Branyan – No one claimed Branyan after his 2006 DFA, but the Cardinals traded for him when the Phillies designated him for assignment the next year. He didn't do much for the Cards in his 39 plate appearances in 2007, but Branyan rebounded to hit 31 homers for the Mariners in 2009.
  • Marlon Byrd – The Nationals designated Byrd for assignment in 2006 without losing him and the Rangers did the same in 2007. Byrd recovered from his '07 demotion to post three consecutive productive seasons in Texas.
  • Nelson Cruz – The Rangers designated Cruz for assignment at the beginning of the 2008 season –  usually a good time to sneak players through waivers. The Rangers must be thrilled no one claimed Cruz, who hit 37 homers in the minors that year and added 33 in the majors the following season.
  • Rajai Davis – The A's claimed the outfielder off of waivers from their Bay Area rivals in 2008. Davis was hitting .056/.105/.056 at the time, though he had batted just 19 times. He has gone on to become a useful player, hitting .305/.360/.423 last year with 41 steals and above average defense, according to UZR.
  • Jorge de la Rosa – The Royals designated de la Rosa for assignment in March of 2008, but it wasn't until a month later that the Rockies traded for him. The 29-year-old free agent-to-be has been a productive starter in Colorado since.
  • Ryan Franklin – The Reds acquired Franklin from the Phillies in 2006 after a poor start to the season. Franklin didn't do much better with the Reds, but he has been productive for three-plus seasons in St. Louis since.
  • Jeremy Guthrie – The Orioles claimed the former first round pick from the Indians early in 2007, when Guthrie had just 37 big league innings and a 6.08 ERA to his name. Since, the righty has posted a 4.19 ERA in 610.1 innings.
  • LaTroy Hawkins – The Yankees designated the reliever for assignment in 2008 and traded him to Houston, where Hawkins dominated for 24 appearances. He posted a 0.43 ERA along with 10.7 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9.
  • Bobby Jenks – He has fallen out of favor with the White Sox now, but they deserve credit for picking him up after the 2004 season. Jenks has struck out three times as many batters as he has walked in 301 innings with the White Sox.
  • Ryan Ludwick – The slugger started the 2005 season hitting just .154/.267/.385 so the Indians designated him for assignment. No one claimed Ludwick then, but the Cardinals made a shrewd pickup when they later signed him.
  • Brandon Phillips – The Reds claimed Phillips after the Indians designated him for assignment in 2006. He had just a .206/.246/.310 big league line at the time, but he has averaged 22 homers and 26 steals in his four full seasons with the Reds. UZR rates the 28-year-old as an above average defender at second base, too.
  • Joel Pineiro – The Red Sox designated Pineiro for assignment in 2007 when he had a 5.03 ERA and just 20 strikeouts to go along with 14 walks. Later that summer, the Cardinals acquired Pineiro and he went on to post 426.1 solid innings for the Cards. Under the tutelage of pitching coach Dave Duncan, Pineiro posted a walk rate of 1.6 BB/9 in a Cardinals uniform.
  • Grant BalfourRyan ChurchJack CustMatt DiazJerry Hairston Jr.Joel HanrahanLivan HernandezMike JacobsColby LewisJulio LugoMike MacDougalEvan MeekVicente PadillaScott PodsednikJ.C. RomeroDavid Ross, Brian Tallet, Todd Wellemeyer and Randy Wells are among the many big leaguers who have been designated for assignment.

It's worth noting that this group does not include a superstar (Cruz might be the closest thing to one). Teams designate many talented players for assignment because of roster constraints, but few enjoy as much success as the group above.

Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the information.


Odds & Ends: Tigers, Zobrist, Posey, Crisp

Sunday night linkage..


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. 


Odds & Ends: Evans, Sheffield, Slowey, Hechavarria

Links for Thursday…