The Phillies released another, veteran pitcher yesterday, cutting ties with 33-year-old Joel Pineiro. A former member of the Mariners, Red Sox, Cardinals and Angels, Pineiro faced an uphill battle trying to crack Philly’s stacked rotation. With the Mets thin on starting pitching depth, should Sandy Alderson take a chance on Pineiro?
Mets fans are familiar with Pineiro from his days in St. Louis, specifically one start in 2007. With the team spiraling downward, the Mets faced the Cards in a makeup game on September 27th-game 159. That day, Pineiro tossed eight scoreless innings, yielding three hits and one walk while punching out six, en route to a 3-0 St. Louis victory. The loss put the Amazins in a first place tie in the National East and the rest is disastrous history.
Pineiro has had his ups and downs since then and most recently had a down year with the Angels. In 2011, he pitched to a 5.13 ERA and 1.510 WHIP while missing time due to shoulder tightness. His rough year resulted in him having to accept a minor league deal with the Phillies.
Pineiro had an unimpressive spring, allowing five runs (three earned) on seven hits on two walks with three strikeouts over six innings. Six innings is a very small sample size, however, and while he hasn’t been the most dominant pitcher during his career, he has achieved success. Lifetime, Pineiro owns a 4.41 ERA, 1.348 WHIP and 5.4 K/9-numbers which, again, don’t suggest dominance. However, he has made a living by controlling the plate, posting a 2.5 BB/9, and keeping the ball on the ground to the tune of a career 49.2% ground ball rate (in ’09, it was 60.5%). His xFIP and SIERA are 4.17 and 4.32, respectively, suggesting he has pitched a little better than his ERA.
Signing Pineiro to a minor league deal would provide the Mets with more pitching depth, something that is needed with the uncertainly surrounding Johan Santana’s shoulder and Mike Pelfrey’s effectiveness. Given his past history of success in the National League, Pineiro stands a good chance of being snatched up by another team. At any rate, adding another arm on a low-risk contract couldn’t hurt.
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