Twins Sign Michael Pineda To Two-Year Deal, Likely To Miss Most Of 2018

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Ben Solomon, New York Times

The Minnesota Twins signed free agent starting pitcher Michael Pineda to a two-year, $10 million deal, as announced on Wednesday.

Pineda, 28, was 8-4 in 17 starts for the New York Yankees in 2017 before undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery on July 18.

After a solid 2011 rookie season for the Seattle Mariners, Pineda was traded to the Yankees after the season in a deal that sent top catching prospect Jesus Montero to Seattle. Pineda ended up missing two full seasons before making 13 starts in 2014 for the Yankees, going 5-5 with a 1.89 ERA. In his next three years with New York, he was 26-26 with a 4.56 ERA in 76 games/starts.

The 6’7” right-hander is set to make $2 million in 2018 and $8 million in 2019 for Minnesota. Pineda isn’t expected to pitch much, if at all, in 2018; but Twins manager Paul Molitor sees his signing as something positive.

“I’m excited,” said Molitor. “You make the sacrifice of giving up the year for the most part to allow (Pineda) to rehab, and you’re relying fairly heavily on taking the risk of upside in ’19, in his case. We all know what he can do when he’s healthy.”

Molitor spoke to Pineda via phone during the recruitment process. According to MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger, Pineda was “intrigued” of the idea of becoming a Twin.

Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey weighed in on the acquisition of Pineda, saying, “It’s an opportunity to get a guy who has had some ups and downs at certain junctures, but when he’s at his best, his quality of stuff is as good as any pitcher. There’s a chance to have some upside there in ’19.”