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Jake Odorizzi has accepted the Twins' qualifying offer, meaning he will return to the Twins starting rotation in 2020. The news means tha...
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Suspension Shouldn’t Factor into Potential Pineda Reunion

Michael Pineda's current contract with the Twins will end with him under suspension. So his comeback season was tainted and this is the end of the story for him in Minnesota, right? Wrong. He's among the best free agent starting pitchers and this will be a Twins team thirsty for rotation help.
Image courtesy of © David Berding-USA TODAY Sports
We all have that perception of what PEDs looks like.

Artificial, manufactured bulk. Insatiable supplement drive. Drug-hungry monsters covered with knots and curls of the synthetic side-effects of the phony, lifestyle they can only bootleg themselves into believing. Above all, they’re cheaters.

We all have dismay and disdain for cheaters, and its palpable. The inequity of those that load themselves with anabolics over those that play natural is stigmatic enough, but the impression that those cheaters are head and shoulders above competitors while playing with an abnormal, unfair and skewed advantage, especially when the PEDS are wildly condemned, is truly preposterous.

Was Michael Pineda even using PEDs? All we know he has been suspended for testing positive for a drug identified as a masking agent, but that fact teams feel it's necessary to censor and exempt those who "juiced" before entering the free agent market doesn’t make sense.

Since 2010 there have been 26 players of notable significance to be suspended by the MLB for PEDs juicing.

Attached Image: WARimage.png
And as you can, this graph pretty much debunk the myth that players with juicing ‘enhanced’ their performance by yielded results by aggregate.

The Twins face crucial decisions in regard to all three of their pending free agent starting pitchers. As the gap between legitimate starters becomes wider, it’s especially crucial for teams to equip themselves with effective starters.

With his climbing velocity and swinging strike percentages, I would especially encourage the Twins to approach Pineda with an extension. This may be more of the fact that Jake Odorizzi and Kyle Gibson pose more concerns.
History has shown that after Tommy John surgery, velocity actually increases. Pineda was also showing impressive command. Of any free agent pitcher to have thrown 1,000 pitches this season, Michael Pineda leads every single one of them (including Gerritt Cole) in Quality Of Pitch Average. QOP is a patent-pending proprietary regression model that factors in mph, location, and movement (vertical break, horizontal break, breaking distance and rise).

Not that Gerritt Cole wouldn’t be my dream acquisition, but location and movement gives a better testament to the longevity and success of a pitcher. This coupled with rising velocity, an insanely good knack for hitting the strike zone (third of any free agent pitcher) and three pitches trending above average (changeup, fastball and slider) make Pineda an even more appealing candidate.

Reasons why the Twins shouldn't consider a reunion with Pineda are few and far between. They more than likely lie in the composition of your own values, ethics and morals than the actual product. Nelson Cruz is a prime example of why you shouldn’t allow a failed PED test to influence your psyche, because Cruz ended up posting a 3.6 WAR season after his suspension.

The even more important thing I want to bring to light is the reasoning behind the PEDs usage. Below is Pineda's statement after the suspension was announced.

“I mistakenly took a medication that was given to me by a close acquaintance, who obtained it over-the-counter and assured me it would safely help me manage my weight. I ingested a a few of these pills without the consent of the Twins’ training staff. Testing revealed trace elements of a substance called Hydrochloride, which is a banned diuretic under baseball’s testing program.”

Take it for what it’s worth, but the fact that he felt it was necessary for him to regulate his weight is a deeply ingrained perspective, grounded in and molded by the stereotypes we insist players must adhere to.

How often do we as fans judge players with striking weight or size problems and reduce them with slander saying they can't perform? I consider it bigotry that someone with weight issues should be slandered because of his weight, and anything below excellent performance be pointed to as a corollary aftereffect of that dysfunction.

So would it be fair to say that the suspension may have been the net result of our preconceived notions that drove him to search for weight recovery?

Let me know what you think in the comments.

Please follow me for more discussion @Sabir_Aden.

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62 Comments

I should premise before you guys blast me, I was trying to lobby for why Pineda should be considered as much a candidate as any other free agent pitcher. That was the purpose

Not to rail against the ramifications of PEDs to be accepted as another offset of the game.
    • glunn and nicksaviking like this

I think he should be a candidate to resign because 1.He is a good pitcher and 2.because he wants to be here.

 

I like all 3 of Pineda, Gibson and Odorizzi.I hope we sign 1 if not 2 or three.I could see the offseason going like this.Odorizzi accepts the Qualifying Offer, Pineda signs a reasonable 2 year 26 million contract because of the Suspension and Gibson resigns on a 2 year contract 26 million w/ incentives and option year with a reachable trigger like 350 innings during the 2 years guarantees third at 15 million, because of his illness.  

    • glunn, LA VIkes Fan and DocBauer like this
Thoughtful article. I think they should try and resign him, although I also think they should make a real run at Cole.
    • glunn, brvama, Brandon and 1 other like this
I like Big Mike! Of the 3 Twins FA starting pitchers he would be my 1st choice/priority. It would be nice to sign one of the others, no preference on my part. I wonder what the payroll will look like next year.
    • glunn, brvama and IAMNFan like this
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Patrick Wozniak
Sep 14 2019 08:43 PM

The suspension for the beginning of the season could also benefit Pineda by giving him some extra rest which he seems to need. Plus, I think he feels like he wronged the Twins, so he may come back on a more team friendly deal. Overall, I think he will be a great value considering his talent level and the Twins are going to need to add a lot of starters anyway, so I am all in favor of resigning Pineda. 

    • glunn, brvama and wabene like this
The thing is all players HAVE TO go through the training staff for any kind of supplement, nutrient or medication. You are setting yourself up for failure if you don't.
    • glunn, Brandon and PDX Twin like this
He's going to miss one forth of the year. Who pitches instead? Since you want Pineda to start, it would be someone you don't want to start....A backup. How deep into the farm is that player? Will he actually be ready after his suspension, or will he need a few weeks?

All he had to do was work with team doctors. No way I sign him.
    • laloesch and MMMordabito like this
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jorgenswest
Sep 14 2019 09:24 PM

He should be ready after his suspension. I recall Santana being able to play in the minors prior to his suspension ending. I also think that they will need someone by that point in the season.Those aren't my concerns.

 

My concern would be that he was masking PEDs and those PEDs helped his performance or kept him healthier. Given those concerns I wouldn't pay more than 8 million (essentially 6 million) for his services. 

 

Does he need to sign a contract to begin serving a suspension? I would guess so. If not he might be better off waiting and seeing who needs pitching at the quarter pole.

I hope we resign him. We'll need some starters to stick around.

    • Twins33 likes this

Of course Michael Pineda was using steroids. Are we going to feign stupidity? Athletes cheat all the time these days. I'm not going to forgive it or forget it, because it's just a fact of life in a capitalist society. People that grow up desperate for financial security will lie, cheat and steal to get it. Even people that grow up rich will lie, cheat and steal to stay rich.

 

Now, if we have all thrown off our baby one piece jammies, should the Twins pitch a contract to Pineda? Heck yeah, he was a bargain basement special, and he might go slightly under top dollar to make things right with the Twins. He did put the team in a pickle by getting caught. He needs to learn to build his body legally. It can be done. Meanwhile, Pineda looks great on the mound for this team. Innings eating horse, with ace potential. Keep the man in Minnesota. 

    • Han Joelo, Riverbrian, jud6312 and 1 other like this

 

I like Big Mike! Of the 3 Twins FA starting pitchers he would be my 1st choice/priority. It would be nice to sign one of the others, no preference on my part. I wonder what the payroll will look like next year.

Odorizzi is my 1st priority. Pineda is a close 2nd. I think it's time to move on from Gibson & Perez and try to sign a real ace instead. Let Schoop and Castro walk, that would save some money. #5 starter could be one of Smeltzer/Dobnak/Thorpe. Graterol stays in the bullpen along with Rogers, Dyson, Duffey, May, Littell, Stashak and maybe one more top lefty free agent reliever.

    • Brandon likes this
How many games will he miss next year, 40 or less? I’d sign him and it might be at a bargain price b/c of the suspension and his comments. I tend to be a forgiving person and believe people most of the time until proven wrong. So, at this point, I take him at his word. Still a young man that hopefully matures with this experience. He has always had good potential and we saw some of that this year. Right now I’m torn between Odorizzi and Gibson, but we should bring back one of them. Leaning toward Odo. Then I hope the FO goes after a good FA. Cole would be great, but I’d also take Wheeler. We have some good young options to audition the first 6 weeks or so also, with Graterol the most exciting. If we could accomplish this I’d be really excited about the season.
    • LA VIkes Fan and wabene like this
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Brock Beauchamp
Sep 14 2019 10:50 PM

Honestly, I think they should target both Pineda and Gibson this offseason.

 

Pineda will be out for a bit but that's okay, you can get him cheap again.

 

Gibson, you can get cheap because he's obviously suffering from an illness. Get that under control and he could return to being a very good pitcher again.

    • glunn, LA VIkes Fan, Sconnie and 3 others like this

Time for a contrarian.Pineda lost my respect.Does anyone not know that they test players now?

    • jbissell and MMMordabito like this
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MMMordabito
Sep 15 2019 07:05 AM
Kick him to the curb. He screwed the team over at the worst possible time. He'll be screwing the team over again by not participating for a quarter of the season and the playoffs.

Bad content. Why is it front page?
The suspension should absolutely be a factor. If Pineda misses 40 games next season, that's maybe 8 starts that you have to give to a placeholder starter instead.

Who is going to be plan A out of the gate? Most likely a lesser pitcher than Pineda.
    • MMMordabito likes this

Same thing I've said on this board elsewhere: Pineda is never going to give a team a full season anyway. He's just not built for it. Look at his injury history, including before TJ...

 

But if the price is right you sign any player that can help your team. In a vacuum, I'd rather have a player whose is scheduled to miss a chunk of the season than a July 1 free agent signee. This is presuming that Pineda is, in fact, post season eligible in 2020.

 

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the_brute_squad
Sep 15 2019 07:20 AM

Pineda should go into free agency with the belief he owes the Twins one year. There's two reasons for this:

1) He was paid millions to rehab last year.

2) He was an important part of the staff and he got caught doping.

 

He owes the team one full year of 100% honest effort.

I like Big Mike because he pounds the zone. No more pitchers afraid on the mound. My concern with Big Mike is health: I think his body is going to completely fall apart in the near future
    • LA VIkes Fan, laloesch and wabene like this

Kick him to the curb. He screwed the team over at the worst possible time. He'll be screwing the team over again by not participating for a quarter of the season and the playoffs.
Bad content. Why is it front page?


Tough Criticism.

I never in the article said that Pineda’s injury history or PEDs should be specifically ignored in the aggregate, but expecting him to trend upwards and not downwards would and should be a realistic possibility coupled with a low price tag, making him a very realistic option for resigning.

There has never been a baseball team to enter the season with 5, and come out with 5 starters with 30+ starts in who knows how long. That’s just reality now. And given three roster spots have come open, the fruits for possibility are endless.

I thought exploring this possibility was intriguing and that I’d get mixed bag reactions. I assumed that readers would enter this with open, impartial view and not be vindictive and resentful. Obviously I was wrong. I apologize if my content wasn’t up to your standards. I’ll try harder next time.
    • Kevin, Riverbrian, SwainZag and 1 other like this
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jorgenswest
Sep 15 2019 08:09 AM
I think the better question is...

What contract would you offer Pineda for 2020?

I guess that does assume everyone would take him on a minimum minor league deal but maybe that isn’t true. My negotiation ceiling is at one year 8 million (effectively 6 million).
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Brock Beauchamp
Sep 15 2019 08:51 AM

I think the better question is...

What contract would you offer Pineda for 2020?

I guess that does assume everyone would take him on a minimum minor league deal but maybe that isn’t true. My negotiation ceiling is at one year 8 million (effectively 6 million).

Before I even finished reading your post, I also came up with $8/$6m.

Pineda will have to sign a major league contract, and then those games will click off at the beginnng of next season, so he will sit for a good mont-and-a-half. I imagine he can workout, on his own dollar, in Florida at the Twins complex. But would have to spend sometime in the minors upon reinstatement.

 

The biggest question will be the dollar amount, and if anyone wants to go beyond the season (or maybe just a mutual option...probably for the amount of the "missed games."

 

Be an interesting gamble to take, and I would like to think that barring other free agent signings, the Twins will have 1-2 spots being filled by newcomers from their system, which factor in two ways...the amount of innings the guys can pitch for the year, as well as the quality of the innings overall. So it could be a good reasonable cost alternative as more arms mature in the Twins organization.

Remember, if they have one or two rookies starting as part of the plan, Pinedas placeholder for eight to ten starts will be the next guy. And when there is an injury, the next guy.

How deep do people think the help in the minors is to start the year?
I definitely think they should offer a QA to Odorizzi and offer both Gibson and Pineda 2 year contracts. That way if Odo goes elsewhere they get something for him and I think they can get both Gibby and Pineda on the cheap which if they fail makes it a lot easier to move on from them rather than going out and getting that supposed sure thing and have them fail then trying to hold on to them because of some ridiculous contract. So if they lucked out and got all of those guys back. You go with
Berrios
Odorizzi
Gibson
Sign Wheeler
Pineda, use a new guy like Grateral until Pineda is ready to go.

Then the rest of the depth is there for when the inevitable injury happens. These guys minus Wheeler are all short term contract obligations, none of them are 4 - 5 year contract guys due to their issues. So realistically it fits the Twins mold currently.

Next question, is Pineda eligible for the playoffs next year? Or is being suspended from this year's postseason good enough??
    • brvama and DocBauer like this

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