Minnesota Twins: The free agent case of Michael Pineda

Brian Johnston
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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The Minnesota Twins don’t have a lot of free agent decisions to make this offseason regarding players on this year’s roster. There’s Andrelton Simmons, who likely won’t be back after a disappointing season, especially since the Twins already have several other options at shortstop. There’s also pitcher Alex Colome, who has a mutual option for next season.

The other big name that the team will have to make a decision on is pitcher Michael Pineda, and it’s an interesting decision at that. Pineda is only 32, though it seems like he’s been around longer than he has. When he’s actually on the mound, he’s an effective starter. In three years with Minnesota, he’s made 51 appearances — 50 starts — and posted a solid 3.85 ERA. This year, he’s 7-8 with a 3.74 ERA.

However, Pineda has faced injuries and suspension during his career, including during the last few years that he’s spent in Minnesota. He came back from his latest injury on September 6 against Cleveland and pitched three scoreless innings in relief, and he’s had two solid starts since then.

Minnesota Twins: Pineda could still be an effective starter

Given how much disarray the Twins’ starting pitching has been in this season, the team could use a healthy and effective Pineda in 2022. However, it’s just hard to know whether he would be a worthwhile investment moving forward. His 2021 season has been all over the place; while he’s been effective for the most part, again, injuries have been a problem.

Whether he can maintain his effectiveness is also an unknown. According to FanGraphs, Pineda has used his fastball a little bit more this season than he did last season, at 53.3%, up from 50.1%. The average velocity has gone down every season since 2016, when he was pitching for the Yankees (94.7 MPH in 2016, 90.8 in 2021). Pineda’s BABIP also is way down this year. For his career, it is .297; last year it was .321. This year, it’s at .281. Perhaps he’s had some good fortune.

Whether the Twins decide to try to re-sign Pineda might depend largely on what direction the team will go in this offseason. If they try to contend, he could be a solid middle of the rotation starter. If they go for a rebuild, he could be an effective innings eater that they could potentially flip at the trade deadline. That being said, given how effective Pineda can be, the guess here is that he’ll get quite a few calls this offseason from other teams.

So what do you think? Should the Twins try to re-sign Michael Pineda? Let us know!

Next. Minnesota Twins: Johan Santana is still a great success story. dark

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