This offseason, righty Joel Pineiro was pitching in the Puerto Rican Winter League to try to entice a team to sign him up for a chance to return to the bigs. At the time, the Chicago Cubs were reportedly among the teams checking him out.
And now, according to Hiram Torraca of El Nuevo Dia in Puerto Rico, by way of MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez, the Cubs have indeed signed Pineiro to a minor league deal.
Pineiro, 35, hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2011 because of some shoulder issues, though I vaguely recall decent reports out of the PRWL this year. He made seven starts in the league and the Caribbean Series, allowing just 9 earned runs over 37.2 innings. He only struck out 15, but he also only walked 6.
Pineiro was always a pretty effective back-of-the-rotation type in his big league career, and there’s obviously nothing to lose on a minor league deal. The Cubs can send him to AAA Iowa (though the rotation could be a little crowded), and see what he’s got in the tank. Maybe he helps school the pitchers there a bit, and maybe he factors into the Cubs’ second half. We can’t say for sure how this will play out, but it probably doesn’t hurt to bring him in.
We’ll see if and when the Cubs confirm the signing. (UPDATE: And, indeed they have, per Gordon Wittenmyer.)