The Orioles added some additional pitching depth Wednesday, signing Joel Pineiro to a minor league contract.
He’ll pitch out of the rotation at Triple-A Norfolk initially.
There was shockingly little interest in Pineiro over the winter, and he ended up signing a minor league deal with the Phillies even though it was obvious they had no room for him. He was cut after allowing five runs — three earned — in six innings this spring.
While Pinero struggled to a 5.13 ERA in 24 starts and three relief appearances for the Angels last season, he did finish with a 3.49 ERA for the Cardinals in 2009 and a 3.84 ERA for the Angels in 2010. His ability to get groundballs could make him pretty useful to the Orioles, perhaps in a middle relief role at first.
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.