Before one week of spring training has gotten underway, Joel Piñiero is already turning heads for the St. Louis Cardinals, just like last season. And just like in 2008, he's not turning heads for the right reasons.
See, apparently Piñiero doesn't get the whole "earning your place" thing. Despite having a ghastly 5.15 ERA with the Cardinals in 2008, Joel is moping and complaining about not getting a spot in the rotation for his native Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic this spring.
Um, Joel. The manager of Puerto Rico, Jose Oquendo, is your third-base coach. You think he woudn't notice how terrible you were for his ball club? Please.
And what did Piñiero do when he found out that he'd be coming out of the bullpen instead of toeing the rubber when the game started? Quit the team of course! How's that for nationalism?
How dare Piñiero not make the rotation? After all, like he's been telling anybody that will listen, for the last eight years, he and Javy Vazquez have been the only players starting for the PR. Nevermind that the other three starters that Oquendo did pick all have a lower ERA and more wins last season.
Joel, as a Cardinals fan, do us all a favor. Get angry, and pitch well this year. Reward the club for giving you a two-year contract before 2008, and pitch at least like a back-of-the-rotation starter.
Tony La Russa doesn't put up with this kind of stuff from his best players. It will be interesting to see what happens when a Quad-A level talent starts moaning about his spot on the team.