Meanwhile, In Actual News

The Red Sox have signed Joel Pineiro to an incentive laden one-year-contract as a closer. Opponents tuned up Piniero last year, hitting .311 against him (209 hits in 165.2 innings, 23 homers, 87 ks, 64 walks). Bombs away!

Over/under on Pineiro’s tenure as closer here set set at 20 games. Too high? Too low? Comment here.

25 comments… add one
  • Jeez, 20 games? I wonder if he even makes the opening day roster, much less as the closer. There’s gotta be a buyout in there somewhere, an escape clause. His trends are pretty awful.
    I am not as exuberant about the move as you are, Paul. I still question Theo’s ability to build a bullpen. Sure this could work out, but it seems more in line with the “throw enough sh*t at a wall and some of it might stick” method than anything else. I’ll love it if Pineiro works out, but I am not putting anything on the line on this one.

    SF January 3, 2007, 7:42 pm
  • I’d agree SF, I honestly see him breaking camp as closer. That’s Pap’s job! But they’re paying the guy $4 million bucks, and that’s serious dough even in Boston, where money grows on trees. You don’t throw that kind of cash around just to release a guy on March 15. Or do you?

    YF January 3, 2007, 7:46 pm
  • I don’t think they’d release him, that would entail them buying out his entire contract. They’d option him down, or if he doesn’t have any options left they’d put him on waivers. Either way, I say he doesn’t make it into June.

    Andrew January 3, 2007, 7:53 pm
  • Note: That was supposed to be “I don’t honestly see…”

    YF January 3, 2007, 7:58 pm
  • Who knows if the contract has a kicker where he HAS to make the ML roster for it to be worth what it’s advertised as. Pineiro might have been staring at 2M guaranteed from another team, or $4M guaranteed + incentives from the Sox if he makes the team, and had the confidence to roll the dice. I don’t imagine that the Sox believe he won’t make the team with this kind of contract, but I can’t see the entire thing as guaranteed either, based on his trends. Maybe someone at SoSH has the inside scoop on the contract.
    And I first thought Paul posted this, then realized it was YF. Though Paul does praise the move in an earlier comment. The over/under was set by YF, clearly.

    SF January 3, 2007, 7:59 pm
  • SF, there you go again, spinning this move into a brilliant one;)
    I guess I’m a bit confused as to why the Sox wouldn’t have gone more aggressively at pitchers like Dotel or Gagne. You’d have to pay more ($4 million to be precise) but they seem like surer bets.

    Nick-YF January 3, 2007, 8:02 pm
  • For a lousy 2 mil. more the Sox could have had Eric Gagne.
    Granted, Gagne is a big ? after his injury problems, but I’d rather go into the season with a questionable Gagne as my closer than the dubious cast of “Closer by Committee” that Theo is assembling.

    Whatever January 3, 2007, 8:07 pm
  • Gagne signed with Texas for 6 mil.
    There’s supposedly a player option in Pineiro’s deal? Wonder how much that’s for? 2 mil. in possible bonuses also.

    Whatever January 3, 2007, 8:15 pm
  • Wouldn’t you have rather the Sox gave Gagne 6 mil and another 6 mil in save incentives? (i.e. 30+ saves and you pay him 10 mil for the season).
    Pineiro is very bad. Very very very bad.

    walein January 3, 2007, 8:51 pm
  • And Pineiro had a bad arm last year!
    What does this mean for MDC and Hansen? It’s possible that Theo has now telegraphed them as trade bait, lessening their value. This move is all upside. Which, translated, means that it is more likely to be utterly forgettable. I hope the scouts, John Farrell, and Epstein prove me to be completely off-base.

    SF January 3, 2007, 9:01 pm
  • Yeah, this “Win a Chance to be the Closer for the Red Sox” spring training lottery is starting to annoy me.
    I know very little, but what I do know is this, you can’t measure a closer in Spring Training, you just can’t. The hitters are working on their mechanics, the pitchers are working on their pitch counts, fine tuning rusty delivery from the winter, adjusting on new pitches, etc, it’s just not the same as the regular season.

    LocklandSF January 3, 2007, 9:03 pm
  • Hansen or MDC+ ends up in DC, Chad Cordero ends up in Boston, Pineiro, Timlin, and Okajima make up the 8th inning setup corps.
    Ugh, it might seem.

    SF January 3, 2007, 9:06 pm
  • Check that, if all it took to get Cordero was Hansen or MDC, then fine. But if it’s Buchholz or Bowden plus one of those guys, forget it.

    SF January 3, 2007, 9:09 pm
  • Sox fans better hope that the guy who scouted Pineiro for Theo isn’t the same as the guy who scouted Matsuzaka

    walein January 3, 2007, 9:10 pm
  • I can’t believe the Sox might not be rethinking their “Paps is a starter next year declaration.” He was the best in the league in that role for most of the season, and yeah, had a shoulder problem, but how is logging 180-200 innings instead of 75 gonna help out that shoulder problem?

    Whatever January 3, 2007, 9:21 pm
  • The article says that Piniero “could be given a chance to compete for the team’s closer’s job in spring training,” that that he has been signed “as a closer.” Big difference.
    Still, this looks like a low-percentage deal for the money. What’s to like about his numbers the past three years?

    Hudson January 3, 2007, 10:00 pm
  • The article says that Piniero “could be given a chance to compete for the team’s closer’s job in spring training,” not that he has been signed “as a closer.” Big difference.
    Still, this looks like a low-percentage deal for the money. What’s to like about his numbers the past three years?

    Hudson January 3, 2007, 10:01 pm
  • I”ll put the bet in that, barring injury to Timlin or Papelbon, Pineiro won’t see a stint in the closer role all year. Expensive long relief, spot starter, and set up man.

    walein January 3, 2007, 10:07 pm
  • I did say I liked the move, so I guess that qualifies as praising it, but only because it’s another guy who could come out of nowhere and be a great closer for a year. But, really, as Lockland said, it’s difficult to judge who’s got the stuff and the stones to be a closer when you’ve got to try out 10 guys over 30 games. Yuck.
    Perhaps Theo is doing what the Yanks are doing and stockpiling arms so he can send one or more to another team for a real closer like Chad Cordero. I hope so.
    I think it’s fair to say my “praise” of the deal has lessened somewhat. Still, it’s a fairly low-risk move, and you never know…
    Incidentally, just for the fun of it, Tom Gordon’s last full season as a starter, in 1996 — 12-9, 5.59.

    Paul SF January 3, 2007, 11:09 pm
  • “it’s another guy who could come out of nowhere and be a great closer for a year”
    This is true. But this would also be true if the Red Sox re-animated Dick Radatz or located Bill Campbell and tried to figure out if he was still able to lift his arm.

    SF January 3, 2007, 11:12 pm
  • Kidding aside, I think he’s on as an insurance spot starter/long reliever who can be depended on for innings. He does get his strikeouts, and his walk totals aren’t too bad. He does get hit, though. As a closer, he’s going to make the Fenway fannies squirm.
    It wasn’t long ago that Pineiro was being touted as one of the bright young pitchers in the AL. He gave the Yanks some problems in his first couple of years, throwing hard and keeping the ball down. His era, however, has risen every year for the last 5 years. ERA’s may not be that reliable and indicator of performance, but that’s still not a good trend.

    YF January 3, 2007, 11:25 pm
  • Also: he was an oft-rumored Yankee trade target.

    YF January 3, 2007, 11:26 pm
  • If Theo is trying to emulate Cashman in ‘stockpiling young, promising arms” he’s doing a terrible, terrible job at it.

    Andrew January 4, 2007, 12:08 am
  • Is Joel at 4 mil that much safer than Gagne at 6 mil? I like the idea behind this deal, but I’m not sure if it makes sense..

    Lar January 4, 2007, 9:14 am
  • “I can’t believe the Sox might not be rethinking their ‘Paps is a starter next year declaration.’”
    I would have to agree that revisiting this debate is inevitable given the current situation the Sox are in. There are points on both sides. It has been argued here (whether incorrectly or correctly, I’m not sure) that the closer’s role would put more strain on his arm than the regularity of a spot in the rotation. And obviously, he didn’t last for a full season as a closer.
    But there are certainties on the other side as well which, I feel, would force him to the pen:
    No closer = no chance at winning the division, nor progressing anywhere in the post-season, nor even beating the Yankees in any meaningful game or series – no matter how much loot you paid for Dice-K
    And, in Boston’s specific case, the so-called closer by committee has failed miserably.
    Mike Timlin has no ability to consistently perform those duties.

    lp January 4, 2007, 11:10 am

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