Philadelphia signed Joel Pineiro to a minor-league contract in January, but a three-week look at the veteran right-hander was all they needed to determine he wasn’t worth keeping around.
Today they released Pineiro, who made $8 million from the Angels in each of the past two seasons and would have gotten $1.5 million from the Phillies had he cracked the Opening Day roster.
Pineiro had the ability to opt out of the minor-league deal and become a free agent again if he wasn’t added to the 40-man roster by March 31, so the Phillies are basically just giving him a little extra time to latch on elsewhere.
He posted an ugly 5.13 ERA in 146 innings last season, managing just 3.8 strikeouts per nine innings, but Pineiro did have a 3.64 ERA in 366 innings between 2009 and 2010. At age 32 there’s a decent chance he makes it back to the majors, but the Phillies aren’t exactly hurting for rotation depth.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.