Who's this gentleman, Dude?

That’s really the question facing the Cardinals — what pitcher did they sign today? How much of Joel Pineiro’s improvement over his two months in St. Louis is legitimate, and how much is small-sample-size noise?

If it’s mostly legitimate, then they didn’t make a bad move today. And there are some reasons to think it might be. His strikeout rate was solid, and his walk rate was exceptional.

If it’s just noise, then they didn’t make a good move today. And there are reasons to think that, too. Pineiro’s HR rate in St. Louis was downright ugly. Plus, there’s this simple truth: for the MOST part, if you have 389 innings that say one thing, and 63 innings that say something else, usually the 389 innings are a truer representation than the 63 innings.

In the end, I don’t think I mind the move. It’s only a two-year commitment, and it’s tough to get really killed on a two-year deal. I don’t expect that Pineiro is going to struggle like he did in 2005 and 2006, even if I also don’t expect him to have a sub-4.00 ERA. And I have to think they’re going to deal Reyes, just to give him and them a fresh start.

What are y’all’s thoughts?

-M, with some Jimmy Buffett playing on the speakers.

8 Comments

This move makes me excited. I can see a future where the cards are actually aggressive in the FA market, but not so aggressive as some of the big contracts that were signed last year. Yeah he got a little high, but it has big upside to it.

Terrible move. I like Joel, but I don’t like him enough to reward him with a gigantic check. We’re not the Yankees, that money will come out of our 2009 fund when a potentially good class of free agents will be available. For $8 or $9 million over two years, I like it. For $13, I dislike it a lot.

At times like this, some of the statistical comparison tools are handy. According to baseball-reference.com, the active pitchers most similar to Pineiro at this stage of his career are Jason Marquis, Jason Jennings, Jake Westbrook and Odalis Perez. As far as I can tell, not one of those guys signed for 2007 at anything nearly as cheap(!) as the Pineiro contract. And frankly, I think that with some decent coaching, he should turn out better than at least two and probably three of them.

Let’s face it — starting pitching is expensive. The chances of doing better in the 2007-8 free-agent market are essentially zilch. As for 2008-9, some expensive salaries will be coming off the books, and the team will have room to maneuver. So all told, this looks pretty good to me.

Well I can already see differences of opinions. I have mixed feelings myself.

Part of me thinks we should have saved the money to go after a major free agent or trade. Piniero has a shaky past, and the contract seems too large.

On the other hand, he pitched fairly well, during a tough time. He definitely has ability, and contracts are continually going up anyway.

So, will his performance come closer to resembling a Chris Carpenter or a Kip Wells? Time will tell.

I can’t say I’m excited about it. I guess the price is good, but to me it shows a lack of creativity and new vision for the franchise. It’s the same old same old, and that wasn’t so good last year.

I like it. I believe he has shown he can pitch in the NL. And we need a solid #3 guy. I believe that; if we had Pineiro the whole year; we would have been neck and neck with the cubs at the end of the season.

Great move. I was very impressed with him there at the end. Any front line starter is going to cost way more and I don’t see any FA out there worth the huge money. He’s just getting average money in today’s starter market. It won’t keep StL from trading for someone else.

It’s a good move and unfortunately $13 million over two years is realtively cheap. On the open market he could have probably gotten 3 years and over $20 million. You have to have 5 starters to compete in the majors. If Joel is the #3 starter beginning next season the Cards are in trouble. If he’s the fourth, or better yeet, the fifth starter the Cards will be looking much better.

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