The Cubs announced today that they have signed veteran right-handed starter Joel Pineiro to a minor league deal. The 35 year old Pineiro has not pitched in the majors since 2011 and hasn't pitched anywhere since 2012.
Were this 2003, we would all certainly be more excited about this move. Pineiro was a solid young starting pitcher back then, but since his early days with the Mariners, he's been the definition of a serviceable back-end starter. However, he seemed to rejuvenate his career in 2009 with the Cardinals and he parlayed that into a two-year deal with the Angels. The first year of that deal, 2010, he was a solid starter but he was extremely poor in 2011 and the Angels were happy to seem him go. He signed a deal in 2012 with the Phillies, but was released in spring training. He joined the Orioles after that and pitched five games in 2012 in their minor league system, but his season ended with a torn labrum that required surgery. He missed all of 2013.
At 35 years old, coming off labrum surgery and not having pitched in the majors for two years, Pineiro easily could have retired. But instead, he spent this offseason in the Caribbean, trying to interest a major league team in giving him another chance. No one did until the Cubs took a chance on him today.
Pineiro will start the season in Mesa (he hasn't had spring training yet) and when ready, will slide into the rotation at Iowa. Presumably, the hope is that he can return to his 2009-10 form and fill in the back of the rotation for the Cubs by mid-season. If that doesn't happen, then not much has been lost. It's a nice, low-risk move.