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Joel Pineiro Rumors
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wonders why more teams don't take advantage of arbitration hearings. Clubs do have a history of winning cases against their players in recent years. Here are Cafardo's latest rumors:
- A Red Sox source tells Cafardo that it's unlikely the team signs Ben Sheets. Not a surprise, given Boston's rotation depth.
- One scout is certain Ron Mahay will be on a major league roster by the time Spring Training starts.
- An NL scout considers Miguel Batista a "very serviceable piece."
- Since Miguel Cabrera was in rehab for alcoholism this offseason, teams weren't eager to trade prospects for the first baseman and pay his $20MM salary.
- As we heard last week, the Twins are interested in signing Jim Thome.
- The Red Sox and Angels considered swapping Mike Lowell for Gary Matthews Jr. before concerns about Lowell's thumb emerged.
- An AL GM considers Joel Pineiro "another middle-rotation guy."
Joel Pineiro officially signed a two-year deal with the Angels worth about $16MM today. The Cardinals will receive a supplemental first round pick as compensation for losing the Type-B free agent. The 31-year-old Pineiro probably won't match the departed John Lackey, but he was the best available free agent starter.
Pineiro will apparently receive just $1MM more than Jason Marquis despite having a much better 2009 season. Pineiro pitched like an ace, with a 3.49 ERA in 214 innings for the Cardinals. His 60.5% groundball rate and 1.1 walks per nine innings were both MLB bests. Cards pitching coach Dave Duncan deserves credit for the former, as Duncan convinced Pineiro in February to try a sinker. The walk rate may be more difficult to repeat.
The Mets and Dodgers were also known to be pursuing Pineiro. They'll now have to turn to Jon Garland, Jarrod Washburn, and Braden Looper for bulk innings. Ben Sheets, Erik Bedard, John Smoltz, and Chien-Ming Wang provide the post-injury upside. Pedro Martinez sits somewhere in-between.
Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.
Some New York news and notes courtesy of Newsday's Ken Davidoff..
- Davidoff's understanding is that the Mets' offer to Joel Pineiro was very similar to the Angels' offer of two-years, $16MM. While it would be natural to assume that the free agent hurler preferred the stability of the Halos franchise to the Metropolitans, he writes that he doesn't know that for certain.
- The Mets would definitely like to sign John Smoltz, though it would cause a logjam of starting pitchers. Davidoff suggests that the team could move John Maine in order to create space for him.
- Speaking of Smoltz, Davidoff hears that the Yankees were interested in the 42-year-old prior to landing Javier Vazquez.
- As we've heard elsewhere, the Bombers are looking for one more outfielder and are considering right-handers Xavier Nady and Rocco Baldelli.
Here's the latest on the Mets, who still have significant work to do…
- MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone hears Ben Sheets will seek "at least $10 million, plus lots of incentives, and a second-year, player-controlled option." He says that while the Mets' interest in Sheets is legitimate, they prefer Joel Pineiro. The Mets made an offer – probably two years – to Pineiro.
- Cerrone writes about Bengie Molina, saying the Mets "offered at least $1 million more than the Giants, and also offered a player-controlled option for 2011." Cerrone believes Molina grew skeptical of playing in New York.
- Ken Davidoff of Newsday writes of a "team-fan disconnect," in that a Mets official he spoke to expected the team to get hammered for not signing Molina, but most fans don't mind.
- ESPN's Buster Olney writes of "signals being sent out on Tuesday night that the Mets are turning to Yorvit Torrealba." David Waldstein of the New York Times suggests the Mets would have to pay extra for Torrealba to settle the catcher's two-year-old grievance as part of a new deal. Rod Barajas is probably the only other starting-caliber free agent catcher remaining.
Metsblog's Matthew Cerrone reports that the Mets are interested in signing John Smoltz and one of either Joel Pineiro or Ben Sheets. Cerrone notes that "all three have legit interest in pitching for the Mets on short-term deals," and that signing Pineiro or Sheets would indicate that Smoltz's role in New York would be as a reliever.
The Mets have been linked to this trio and several other starters this winter, but they have yet to make any significant additions to their starting rotation. It's possible that pressure from fans and the New York media might be starting to take a toll on the club. Cerrone cites a report from SI.com's Jon Heyman on The MLB Network in relation to Sheets, where Heyman said the Mets would like to make a "positive" signing in the wake of missing out on free agent catcher Bengie Molina.
Cerrone passed on more info from Heyman and Tom Verducci's discussion of Sheets' throwing session today. More than one scout told Heyman the pitcher looked like "the old Ben Sheets," and both Heyman and Verducci agreed that Sheets will sign a contract similar to Brad Penny's one-year, $7.5MM pact with the Cardinals. Heyman named the Mets, Cubs and Rangers as interested suitors, while Verducci named St. Louis and Seattle as "a likely destination."
The Angels are in on the Joel Pineiro bidding, according to ESPN's Buster Olney (via Twitter). We first heard of their interest in the righty back in December, but they'll have to compete with the Mets and Dodgers for his services.
After losing John Lackey to the Red Sox and making a push for Roy Halladay before he landed in Philadelphia and Aroldis Chapman before he signed with Cincinnati, it's clear the Angels are looking to add another quality arm to their rotation. Despite that, they will not in attendance for Ben Sheets' workout today.
Free agent catcher Bengie Molina has rejected the latest offer from the Mets, according to a tweet by ESPN's Buster Olney. The team is now beginning to focus it's attention on Joel Pineiro.
We heard that the Mets were close to landing Molina earlier in the week, but apparently he had a change of heart. The two sides have been haggling over the length of a potential deal seemingly all offseason. The Mets are one of several teams interested in Pineiro, and they'll also be on hand to watch Ben Sheets throw today.
Earlier today we learned that GM Omar Minaya was never given a budget this offseason, and instead must seek approve from COO Jeff Wilpon on a case-by-case basis.
WEDNESDAY, 11:22pm: Dylan Hernandez tweets that in addition to Pineiro and Padilla, the Dodgers have recently contacted the agents for Braden Looper and Garland.
WEDNESDAY, 7:06pm: The Dodgers are open to bringing back Padilla if they are unable to land Pineiro, a major league source told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
9:55am: It's been a quiet offseason for the Dodgers, as they've unloaded Juan Pierre while adding Jamey Carroll and a cast of minor league signings. With Randy Wolf joining the Brewers, there's still a strong need to add a veteran starting pitcher.
The Dodgers' search is focused on Joel Pineiro and Vicente Padilla, reports MLB.com's Ken Gurnick. Gurnick indicates they've backed off on Jon Garland. The Dodgers are aiming for a one-year deal, which might put Pineiro out of reach. Still, ESPN's Buster Olney wrote today that the Dodgers "are going through the process of getting approval for the funds necessary to make a Pineiro deal." Ed Price of AOL FanHouse tweeted Monday that the Mets were talking to Pineiro about a two-year deal in the $15MM range, so it's probably a two-horse race.
A reunion with Padilla seems likely, especially if his price starts to plummet. Early in the offseason, interest was mutual. The Dodgers' main competition appears to be the Cardinals, who are trying to stretch $6-7MM across several needs.
7:37pm: According to Tim Brown's Twitter feed, "In the face of economic limitations, Dodgers working on a way to sign Joel Pineiro."
7:09pm: According to Ed Price's Twitter feed, the Mets and Joel Pineiro are talking, with the money somewhere around two years, $15MM.
At that price, you'd have to think a deal could get done quickly. The Mets have been interested in Pineiro all offseason, though Pineiro has seemed to be looking for a deal that rivals or exceeds the three-year, $29.75MM contract Randy Wolf signed with the Brewers.
Two years, $15MM is exactly what Jason Marquis signed for earlier this offseason with the Nationals. Despite the concerns over whether Pineiro can repeat his successful 2009 without Dave Duncan, his pitching coach with the Cardinals, the Mets would be taking a worthwhile risk at that price and length.
Pineiro was 15-12 in 2009 with a 3.49 ERA and just 27 walks in 214 innings pitched.
The latest from SI's Jon Heyman…
- Heyman believes the Yankees would not go beyond one year and $6MM to re-sign Johnny Damon. On MLB Home Plate Boras said Damon "would just have to move forward," while not faulting the Yankees for sticking to a budget. Heyman suggests four alternatives for Damon: the Giants, Mariners, Braves, and Angels. The Angels would be a tough fit barring a Juan Rivera trade, as their outfield and DH spots are full. The problem with the Braves is that they're approaching their payroll limit.
- Despite a report that the Cardinals probably can't afford Miguel Tejada, Heyman sees them as the best fit. Heyman's $8MM idea seems too pricey though.
- The Mets debated offering Joel Pineiro a two-year, $15MM Jason Marquis special, but at this point Pineiro seems to be seeking Randy Wolf's three-year, $29.75MM deal. MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone sees the team landing Jon Garland instead.
- Heymans says the Mets "seem serious about sticking with an offer of one year and a vesting option" for Bengie Molina. However, Cerrone "gets the feeling the Mets might have a two-year deal on the table."