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contractThis 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.)

  • Diehardthefirst

    I say bring him up and send down Schlitter cause he’s got big league experience and can help coach

    • Edwin

      Cubs already have a pitching coach. Don’t need too many cooks in kitchen.

  • PejaO42

    I’d rather see a younger guy get the innings up in the Majors, but injuries happen and likely all decent guys will get a shot at some point. Why not

  • Coldneck

    Our game 1 starter for the World Series. Sweet!

  • CubFanBob

    is this just insurance that after the fire sell the cubs can still lose 100 games ?

  • Coldneck

    Or this could just be an elaborate hoax.

  • 70’s Cub

    Fire sell means giving away product at reduced prices the Cub FO is doing the opposite!

  • V23

    Schlitter has nice stuff. If his control stays, then he will be a nice addition to a much improved pen.
    The pineiro signing is fine…why not. Always need pitching depth.

  • mike

    The Cubs have 5 or 6 guys in Iowa i’d much rather see get the starting spots than PIneiro. So, to me at least, if he gets one of those spots – I’d say there is something to lose.

  • ChrisFChi

    No harm no foul signing. Highly doubt he makes it up to MLB.

  • SenorGato

    Stop bragging, Cubs.

  • craigp

    Seems like a senseless signing w AAA and AA so loaded with prospects and only so many innings to go around. He wasn’t very good in his prime…..

  • cubmig

    …..well at least we know reclamation projects haven’t lost their attraction to the FO.

  • ssckelley

    Jeez, I would have rather seen Nick Struck get another shot. This signing is a little confusing unless there are more to Arrieta’s injuries than what they are telling us.

  • another JP

    An experienced pitcher that can throw strikes would be a good call-up in July assuming Shark, Hammel, and Villanueva are dealt. Bring up Hendricks and Jokisch or Beeler along with Piniero and the staff can at least perform to an acceptable level. The young relievers the Cubs have look like a decent group, only Veras will probably be gone by the ASB.

  • bobdawg78

    Ssckelley, funny you mention Nick Struck. A buddy of mine plays in a higher up softball league, and he had me come out once last year towards the end of summer, and the opposing team had Nick Struck playing SS for them.

    I know it’s just softball, and hopefully this doesn’t look bad because I’m sure he shouldn’t be playing in any games(whether it’s softball or not) other than with the Cubs affiliates. Any ways, I didn’t realize it was him, until about mid way through the game, the opposing catcher mentioned to me that their SS was on the Cubs minor league teams, and that he went to school locally at Clackamas HS, and then Clackamas Community College.

    Kind of a funny story for me though, Struck had a hose over at SS, but now I know why.

  • Eternal Pessimist

    It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s super-meh!

  • http://brianmyers.us BrianMyersUS

    It’s not a terrible deal signing him. Here is a guy with a career 4.41 ERA. That may not sound like much (OK, it isn’t that good) but it’s on par with the career numbers of Wood, Villanueva, and Edwin Jackson. Having him on-staff allows them to call-up the younger guys when they are ready, and not when an injury demands it. Also, if the Cubs have a small sell-off at mid-season, he could be a veteran pitching replacement. Finally, having a veteran in the minor league clubhouse could help further instill a solid work ethic and reinforce the teachings of the coaching staff.

    Worst case scenario (assuming he stays healthy): He keeps the Cubs from getting any worse during the season. Best case: He proves to be a mentor, gets called up due to an opening in the ML roster, and eats innings while keeping the Cubs in games and the relief staff somewhat fresh.

    We likely won’t make the playoffs with him, but we’re also less likely to lose 96 games with him too.

    • Brocktoon

      “We likely won’t make the playoffs with him, but we’re also less likely to lose 96 games with him too.”

      I was told that’s a bad thing.

      • http://brianmyers.us BrianMyersUS

        For the Cubs it’s a game of decreased budget and developing talent. It’s keeping team control of their prospects, thus allowing the Cubs to pay those players when money is coming in instead of losing them to free agency. It’s about not being forced to elevate young arms before they are ready physically and mentally for the show.

        To pick up a veteran arm that will not significantly reduce the effectiveness of the club, that will also allow their young talent to develop at the correct pace, is not a bad thing. Long term, it could be a forgotten piece of the puzzle that keeps a stud prospect a Cub for an extra year and allows that prospect to reach his potential.

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