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Saturday January 23, 2010 7:39 am

Angels land Pineiro for just $16 million

Joel PineiroThe Los Angeles Angels have landed a potential superstar. Reports that had Joel Pineiro going to the New York Mets or Los Angeles Dodgers were wrong, as Pineiro has agreed to a two-year, $16 million deal to see him join the rotation with other stars Jered Weaver, Scott Kazmir, Joe Saunders, and Ervin Santana. Does this mean that the Angels now have the best overall starting rotation in baseball? It just might.

Pineiro had arguably the best year in his career in 2009, going 15-12 with a 3.49 ERA and 105 strikeouts while walking a mere 27 in 214.0 innings. He threw three complete games with two shutouts. In 2003 with Seattle, he went 16-11, where he also had three complete games with two shutouts, and had 151 strikeouts to 76 walks in 211.2 innings pitched. He is 96 strikeouts short of 1,000 and will likely pass that career milestone this season.

Pineiro was pitching behind Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter in St. Louis, and his numbers made him the “best third-best” pitcher in the league. He showed ace-worthy stuff, but the Cardinals’ pair of aces were enough to hold the right-hander back. Due to Pineiro’s free agent status and high price tag, it was inevitable that he would suit up for a new club this season. Along with St. Louis, Pineiro has pitched for the Boston Red Sox and the aforementioned Mariners, whom he debuted with in 2000.

This is something we see too often in sports. Pineiro, Wainwright, and Carpenter could have been the most feared one-two-three punch rotation in baseball, but money, as well as Pineiro’s desire for the greener grass has caused him to head for the coast. It’s hard for professional athletes to live in the shadows of their peers, so when they see the opportunity to rise above, more often than not, they jump at the chance. Pineiro is going to shine in Los Angeles, and the Angels look even more poised to repeat their success in the AL West in 2010.



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