Despite public statements from the Chicago Cubs’ front office that they are not pursuing a starting pitcher this off-season (though they clearly should be), there has been an undercurrent of rumors circulating that the team was making a push for Joel Pineiro. It has yet to be reported by the Chicago mainstream media, but ESPN’s Buster Olney confirms:
With John Lackey coming off the board, next best starting pitcher is Joel Pineiro — and the Cubs would like to make a deal. We’ll see. Buster Olney on Twitter.
Logic train time:
If the Chicago folks have not yet reported something this big, it means their sources aren’t discussing it. If Buster Olney is reporting it, it means it probably isn’t coming from Chicago Cubs folks. Thus, the rumor is probably originating from Pineiro’s people – and when a player/his agent are the source for a rumor, you have to take it with a big grain of salt, because they obviously have an interest in creating the perception of a large market for their services.
That said, does it increase Pineiro’s bargaining position with other teams by circulating a rumor that the Cubs, specifically, are the most interested team? Maybe. The Cubs are a large market team with theoretically deep pockets. But everyone knows the Cubs are hard-up for payroll space this year.
As Olney says, we’ll see. Pineiro would be a solid addition, even at the rumored 3 years and $30 million he’s been seeking.