Jump to content
Twins Daily
  • Create Account

Trade or Extend? The Michael Pineda Conundrum


As the Twins discover whether they have simply made a bad start or are just a bad team, they face a tough decision with Michael Pineda; trade him, or extend him?

On the mound, he has the look of a person who desperately needs to use the bathroom or has an itchy clothing tag which won’t stop bothering him. Michael Pineda is fidgety, twitchy and frankly, uncomfortable to watch. His physical quirks bely the smooth operator on the mound. Over the last 3 years, Pineda has been a model of consistency and excellence for the Twins. As the team answers the question of whether they have started slow or are simply a bad team, they need to decide what to do with Pineda, trade him, or extend him?

In spite of the recency bias which perhaps clouds our judgement of the Twins front office, they are a shrewd bunch. Pineda may have been their shrewdest move in 5 years leading the team.

Pineda was first signed by the Twins to a 2 year, $10 million deal in December 2017. Pineda was coming off a significant injury, so the first year of his deal provided him financial certainty and the Twins the ability to monitor his rehab and potentially hit on a significant lottery ticket for a team which has done little to develop strong organizational pitching depth. Boy, did they win big.

2076102442_Screenshot(44).png.aa106ce2cd355e95d1224250b2734f3c.png

Over 3 seasons with the team, Pineda has now logged approximately 220 innings, managing a 3.59 ERA and 5.7% BB% in that span. The latter half of Pineda’s 2019 and beginning of 2020 season will rightly be colored by a 60 game suspensions for PEDs, but whatever way you want to chop it up, Pineda has been a tremendous success for Minnesota. The front office agreed, giving Pineda a 2 year, $20 million extension in 2019. That’s just $2 million more than J.A. Happ earns, y’all.

Switching focus away from Pineda and to the 2021 team, there’s no escaping the truth. This Twins team is bad. The 2021 season was summed up in one cruel, painful blow when Mitch Garver, the Twins lone hot hitter, had to have surgery after a groin shot foul ball following Tuesday night’s game in Baltimore. I know it’s not what we all wanted, but this team just ain’t it. So what should the Twins do with Pineda as June marches on and the July trade deadline approaches?

On one hand, the answer seems simple. Trade Pineda. This is clearly the organizationally smart, efficient thing to do, a decision, results aside, that the Twins front office seems most likely to make if they decide this Twins team cannot mount a serious playoff challenge. Despite Pineda being on an expiring contract, he is capable and has a track record which suggests he could start a playoff game for a team with a weaker rotation, a fact which could command a solid price. Trading Pineda doesn’t preclude the Twins from re-signing him this offseason. Pineda is clearly comfortable in Minnesota and fond of the organization. However, the consistency of his performance in parts of 3 seasons with the Twins will undoubtedly create a more robust market for Big Mike given his improved health in recent seasons for Minnesota.

If the front office believes the team needs to retool, rather than rebuild (a fair conclusion given the strong core of young players and emergency of high end prospects like Kirilloff and Larnach), they could instead choose to extend Pineda. The Twins have essentially been Cleveland’s opposite organization in recent seasons, struggling to create any meaningful starting pitching pipeline to the majors. This may be on the verge of changing with the Falvey led front office, with Jhoan Duran beginning to dominate at AAA and several other standout options working their way through MiLB. 

If the Twins are to ‘retool’ instead of rebuild, let’s consider their rotation. José Berríos is under team control for one more season, an extension seems unlikely. Kenta Maeda, 2020 Cy-Young runner up is under affordable team control but is now a huge question mark, given his abject start to 2021. J.A. Happ and Michael Shoemaker are free agents and may not make it through the season for various reasons. Randy Dobnak is a strong 4th or 5th option. For a team who wants to contend and build a sustainable winner, this is a poor stable of starting pitching options.

So what would an extension look like for Pineda? He’s certainly due for a raise over his last contract. Career long health concerns would likely limit him to a 2 year deal as teams would likely not want to risk adding a third for a pitcher who will be 35 at the end of it. The Twins could offer Pineda a 2 year, $26 million deal which would give him the raise he deserves, still be reasonable value for a pitcher who has provided upwards of 3.0 fWAR in his last 200 IP for the Twins, and raise the floor of the rotation for a team hoping to bounce back in 2022.

What would you do with Pineda, trade him, or extend him?

 


View full article

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Recommended Posts

Personally, I would want him extended for the right price.  He seems like a guy that can pitch for a few more years.  He is not an Ace, but he is steady and would be helpful in a rotation.  

That being said.  If a good offer comes along, you do it.  We can always bring him back after the season.  Teams have done that in the past.  Trade a vet on expiring deal, only to sign again after the season.  I am always a fan of stocking up assets. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Definitely trade him.  Get some value and if he loves our organization and if we want him back, then perhaps we can work out a deal in the off-season.  We do however, need to find a way to extend Berrios.  Let's see what we have in the young guys in the 2nd half of this season.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Same comment as I have for Berrios, just that they have more time to make a decision regarding Berrios.

Talk to him about a two year extension because he has been solid, when as stated above he is healthy and not suspended.  If that isn't going to happen, gotta pull the trigger on a trade before the deadline next month.  As well as he has been pitching, should be able to get something decent in return...maybe one of those recent fourth or fifth round picks who isn't setting the world on fire, but could be the next Bieber or Clevenger.  Man do the Twins need their minor league scouts to be at their best the next 60 days.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can trade him. And, if need be, resign him.

 

Open up opportunities to see what you do have once you start to write-off the season. Any "prospects" need exposure, and what better way to get exposure than a losing season where they can actually work on pitches at the big league level. 

 

You need to open up roster space so you can see thhat next rung who may not be quite ready to start 2022, but will be a aprt of the season IF you don't sign anyone.

 

Berrios, in all accounts, will be gone if you don't overpay. And, remember, Pineda could come back as a free agent signee.

 

Any pending free agent needs to move on to stock the farm system and open roster spots for potential major league prospects: Happ, Pineda, Shoemaker. Colome, Simmons, Cruz all are tradable and probably all (except Shoemaker) could be wanted.

 

You have to decide on the fate of Duffey, Rogers and Robles.

 

Spots are being wasted by Farrell, Minaya and Thielbar right now, as well as a couple of outfielders.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For a pitcher described as a "tremendous success" it sure feels like he has been an invisible after-thought.

If I were running things, I would not be against re-signing him.  It would depend on what else happens with the team, what he is asking for, and what is going on in the FA market.  One thing to point out is he is 32 and future contracts will be past his prime for a pitcher already showing signs of breaking down.

He is solid enough to trade as the season winds down.  This would give the Twins the opportunity to re-sign him later at FA rates, which for him would be a slight discount, should they feel the need or want.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm fine with either. If there's a good deal on the table, trade him. If not, I'd be perfectly happy locking in a Pineda for another few years.

Pineda is someone I think the team could realistically extend, so the answer to your question is completely different than it would be for the players who almost certainly will not be on the team two years from now (e.g., Cruz, Happ, Berrios, Buxton, Colome, Simmons, and probably Taylor Rogers, and Duffey too). Trade every one of those guys. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My opinion is that a short term extension would be preferable. No more than two years for similar value as he's making now. Not that I think he's Cy Young, but as the article mentioned, organizational depth at SP is thin. I don't think any teams are going to be willing to part with a decent prospect for a mediocre rental (remember Johan Pino for Carl Pavano?). Once he leaves the organization and hits free agency things will get more uncertain. Market conditions will dictate his new salary. Maybe there's no market for him, but I gotta think he would at least get JA Happ money.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Three years and 30 starts according to BR - that use to be a starting pitchers one season.  Suspension plus injuries have not kept him in the rotation.  His body looks like it could break down at any time.  Three years 3 WAR that is 1 per year - replacement level.  

Let's work on the next young arms instead and see what we can get for Pineda.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Mike Sixel said:

Trade him. Let him know you will try to re-sign him in the off season first. 

We say that, but how often does it really happen? I can think of Aroldis Chapman going back to the Yankees 4 years ago. Who else? Pretty sure we could go back in time and see the same comments for Eduardo Escobar when we weren’t contending in 2018. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think he'd probably be affordable and is a solid mid-rotation guy to help you get through a season. Can eat innings without hurting you. I wouldn't count on him to be available >70% of the season or in the postseason however. As long as his contract doesn't restrict you too much then great, sign him.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Vanimal46 said:

We say that, but how often does it really happen? I can think of Aroldis Chapman going back to the Yankees 4 years ago. Who else? Pretty sure we could go back in time and see the same comments for Eduardo Escobar when we weren’t contending in 2018. 

Let him know. Up to him if he comes back. I wouldn't mind a signing.... But it's not what Tampa would do

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, Mike Sixel said:

One of the reasons they do is they trade their vets....

Yep. And develop pitching very well. I’d love to see it in Minnesota. Still waiting. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Mike Sixel said:

As am I.....Not sure they've developed a fielder that can field either.....but then, if you keep drafting corner OF in round 1 or 1a....

Is there some way to hit the 'like' button twice?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Vanimal46 said:

We say that, but how often does it really happen? I can think of Aroldis Chapman going back to the Yankees 4 years ago. Who else? Pretty sure we could go back in time and see the same comments for Eduardo Escobar when we weren’t contending in 2018. 

Off the top of my head, the Twins did it with Rick Aguilera in 1995-1996. The Cubs did it with Jason Hammel in 2014-2015.

It's not common, but the sample is fairly small and biased against re-signing -- usually the team trading the player has a replacement ready, or no longer desires the player's services (i.e. a rebuilding club). No surprise that the handful of examples are pitchers, since teams usually need an abundance of pitchers.

Edit: just remembered the Mets did it with Jeurys Familia in 2018-2019, and the Brewers with K-Rod in 2013-2014.

Edit 2: not deadline deals, but Cliff Lee and JA Happ were traded in one offseason, then re-signed with those clubs the next offseason.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, SteelDodo said:

I'm fine with either. If there's a good deal on the table, trade him. If not, I'd be perfectly happy locking in a Pineda for another few years.

Pineda is someone I think the team could realistically extend, so the answer to your question is completely different than it would be for the players who almost certainly will not be on the team two years from now (e.g., Cruz, Happ, Berrios, Buxton, Colome, Simmons, and probably Taylor Rogers, and Duffey too). Trade every one of those guys. 

I will echo your thoughts.  If the deal is too good to pass up trade him.  If you don't think you can extend him, trade him.  If you can extend and there is no great trade deal to be had hang onto him it is not like we have tons of starter that can give us the good innings he does.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

27 minutes ago, Mike Sixel said:

As am I.....Not sure they've developed a fielder that can field either.....but then, if you keep drafting corner OF in round 1 or 1a....

Yes, but we have Sabato, Rooker, Wallner - Brent  Rooker 24 K - 19 games, Aaron Sabato 41 K - 24 games, Matt Wallner 28 K - 17 games.  With Sano now 59 K 39 games our big sluggers are 142 K in 99 games.   What more could you ask for?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pineda has been very consistent when he has pitched - the one issue I have is that he has had a hard time completing a full season either due to injury or suspension.  He is not getting any younger either.   He would probably be a fairly valuable trade asset come deadline time as the acquiring team knows he only has to last a couple of months with them and he will give them a solid consistent performance.  To me if we get a valuable offer we have to trade him.  This assumes his forearm stiffness is nothing and goes away.   I would not object to keep him if either he signed a team-friendly 2 yr contract at about the same level he is now and we do not get a valuable trade offer for him.  Next year in the rotation we have Maeda, Berrios and maybe Dobnak plus bringing up a rookie or two and and/or signing another FA so I don't think re-signing or extending him squeezes anyone out.  We will still need arms to let the prospects develop.         

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

Featured Video

×
×
  • Create New...