Mets Looking Closely At Former Cardinals Starter

An article by posted on November 18, 2009

Yesterday, Adam Rubin of the Daily News reported that the Mets have some interest in free agent pitcher Joel Pineiro.

The Mets, in search of an innings-eater to stabilize their rotation, are particularly intrigued by free-agent righthander Joel Pineiro, according to a team insider.

Pineiro, 31, had 15 wins with the Cardinals in 2009, one shy of the career high he set with Seattle six years earlier. While tossing a career-high 214 innings, Pineiro produced a 3.49 ERA, struck out 105 and walked 27.

Pineiro’s walks-per-nine-innings rate (1.14) was the best in the majors in four years among pitchers who reached 200 innings, and was ahead of runner-up Roy Halladay’s 1.32 this season. That would distinguish Pineiro on a Mets staff that walked 616 batters last season, one off the franchise record set in 1999.

Pineiro also ranked first in the majors with a 2.73-to-1 ground ball-to-fly ball ratio last season. He had 21 quality starts and three complete games, with two shutouts.

Although I believe the Mets could use Pineiro and that he would be an upgrade over anyone else in the Mets rotation save Johan Santana, I am a little concerned about how long it’s been since he produce a similar type season in his career. 

You would have to go all the way back to 2002 to find the last time Pineiro finished the season with an ERA under 3.50. His career 4.39 ERA is almost a full run higher than his 2009 ERA. Pineiro also had the added benefit of pitching under the tutelage one of the game’s finest pitching coaches in Dave Duncan.

Back in August, our own Ed Leyro wrote a great read on Pineiro which I urge all of you to read here. He wrote,

Pitchers who keep the ball in the ballpark also keep their teams in ballgames.  Again, Joel Piñeiro fits that description to a tee.  So far this season, the sinkerball pitcher has only given up three home runs.  Of the Mets’ top four starters (Santana, Pelfrey, Hernandez, Perez), all of them have given up at least eight home runs.  Ollie is the one who has given up the fewest (8) and he missed two months of the season.

Joel Piñeiro does not walk hitters and does not give up the long ball.  He also keeps his pitch count low to allow him to pitch deeper into games, protecting the bullpen from being overused. 

It would be great if Pineiro showed up and shared all the knowledge he gleaned from Duncan and pass it all on to the Mets, obviously he must have had some impact and deserves some credit for Pineiro’s success in 2010.

In the end, it all comes down to the money.

If Pineiro is willing to sign a contract similar to the 2-year $13 million dollar contract he had with the Cardinals, I’m all ears. However, if the rumors are true that he is seeking a 3-year deal worth $30 million dollars, I avoid this situation like the plague. You can look if you want, but you can’t buy.

About the Author ()

I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.

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