The Twins, according to various reports, apparently have agreed to bring back starting pitcher, Michael Pineda, on a two-year, $20 million deal. He pitched well for the club in 2019 — especially down the stretch — but he also was suspended for using a diuretic (water pill) banned by major league baseball.
— Pierre Noujaim (@TheNoujFOX9) December 6, 2019
Pineda said he mistakenly used it to lose weight, not mask the use of performance enhancing drugs, which he was not accused of using. Instead of an 80-game suspension, he earned a 60-day trip away from the game. That means he won’t suit up right away for the Twins once the 2020 season begins.
I find all of this extremely underwhelming, perhaps largely because of timing. The Twins were reportedly interested in free agent pitcher on the rise, Zack Wheeler, of the New York Mets. But instead of the Twins, Wheels signed a five-year deal worth $118 million with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Shortly after the Wheeler news broke, news emerged about the Twins and Pineda, which made it feel like the worst kind of consolation prize.
Of course, before the suspension, Pineda had become the Twins’ most reliable starter. He was 5-4 on June 29, then went 6-1 until his suspension in early September. He allowed only one earned run over six innings in a tough-luck loss to the Mets, and even in no-decision starts he pitched well.
On Sept. 6, in what would be Pineda’s final start of the season, he struck out 10 Cleveland Indians over six innings only to see the bullpen cough up the loss in extra-innings.
So, Pineda will rejoin Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi in the rotation, along with the up-and-coming Randy Dobnak, Lewis Thorpe and Devin Smeltzer. Will this staff beat the New York Yankees in the postseason? Nope.
Aim higher, Minnesota.
-The Twins have said goodbye to first baseman C.J. Cron and reliever, Trevor Hildenberger, after the club decided to non-tender contracts to both players. With Cron gone, that likely means the big bopper but defensively challenged, Miguel Sano, will move to first base. It also means the Twins might be in the market for a third baseman. I would love to see all-time Twins killer, Josh Donaldson, finally hit for the Twins, not against them.
-The Twins also have signed veteran catcher, Alex Avila, to a one-year deal.
Sources: MLB.com, Baseball-Reference.com, MLB Trade Rumors.