The Minnesota Twins’ most glaring need this off season is starting pitching, and the front office started the quest to fill that need this evening. Righty Michael Pineda is coming back to Target Field on a two-year deal worth $20 million, pending a physical. This was first reported by Pierre Noujaim of FOX 9 Minneapolis, followed by a confirmation from Dan Hayes of The Athletic.
Pineda was signed to a two-year, $10 million contract with Minnesota following the 2017 campaign with Big Mike out for most of the 2018 season to recover from Tommy John surgery. Although he was due to make an appearance in late 2018, he suffered a knee injury and was shut down until last season. Pineda delivered well in this last season, posting a 4.01 ERA (114 ERA+) and 4.02 FIP in 146 innings of work across 26 starts. He dropped his walk rate from past seasons to bring his K/BB ratio to 5.00 - his best since 2015 - and a WHIP of 1.158 - also his best since ‘15.
Unfortunately, Pineda’s 2019 season was cut short as Major League Baseball handed him a 60-game suspension. Pineda tested positive for a banned substance - a diuretic that is not related to performance-enhancing drugs. Being a constant in the Twins rotation, this left a big piece of the puzzle missing in the 2019 playoffs. Pineda will continue to serve his suspension during the first 39 games of 2020, but will be eligible if the Twins make the playoffs next season. Although a disappointing end to the season for the righty, he expressed interest in returning to Minnesota for the next season.
This move by Falvine certainly brings another solid starter into a rotation that was only filled by Jose Berrios at the beginning of winter. The addition of Jake Odorizzi, who accepted his qualifying offer, and Pineda helps ease some fears about the 2020 rotation, but two more spots are yet to be filled.
UPDATE: Hayes reports more about the contract, stating that Pineda will get paid $7.6 million from a pro-rated $10 million in the first year of his contract due to the suspension.
The first year of Michael Pineda's deal -- which is pending a physical -- is a prorated $10m. With a 39-game suspension to serve, that means #MNTwins will pay roughly $7.6m in the 1st year of the deal. In reality, it's more like a 2-year, $17.6-million deal for Pineda.— Dan Hayes (@DanHayesMLB) December 6, 2019
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