St. Louis Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan is one of the best pitching coaches in the game. As a matter of fact, he might go down as one of the best pitching coaches of all-time. Duncan has taken the term “One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure” to the extreme.
From Dave Stewart to Mike Moore to Chris Carpenter, Duncan has taken mediocre pitchers and transformed them into quality major-league starters. Duncan’s latest rags to riches story—Joel Pineiro.
Many forget that Pineiro was an up and coming stud with the Seattle Mariners back in the early 2000s. In 2002 and 2003, Pineiro went a combined 30-18 with a 3.52 ERA. He looked like one of the rising pitchers in the game.
In 2004, Pineiro was shut down 21 starts into the season with a sore elbow and hasn’t been the same since. Quite frankly, since his 16-win 2003 season—he has stunk.
From 2003-2008, Pineiro’s record was 35-47; very Jeff Weaver-like. However, Pineiro’s 2009 season has been a different story. Pineiro is 14-11 with a very respectable 3.31 and even has three complete games and two shutouts.
Pineiro’s story is all too familiar. Mediocre pitcher who finds success in his free agent year. Sounds a lot like Jeff Suppan, Jeff Weaver, and Kyle Lohse’s story to me.
Lohse’s story is most similar to Pineiro’s. Lohse had two good seasons with the Minnesota Twins in 2002 and 2003. In those two seasons he went 27-19. From 2003-2007, Lohse went 32-48 and was just an awful pitcher.
In 2008, Lohse went an amazing 15-7 with an ERA of 3.78. Lohse parlayed that season into a four-year, $41 million contract from the Cardinals. Cha-ching!
I can’t believe the Cardinals, a seemingly smart organization, fell for it. How quickly do you think Lohse signed that contract? Two seconds tops.
Guess what Lohse is doing this year? That’s right, he’s back to same awful pitcher we have come to know and love. He is a Lohsian 5-8 with a 4.78 ERA. Thatta' boy, Kyle. I always knew you had it in you, again.
Ironically, Pineiro is looking for a contract similar to Lohse’s this offseason. We all know what is going to happen. Some idiotic team is going to give him a three-year, $28 million contract, and guess what is going to happen?
In his first year, Pineiro is going to go 9-12 with a 4.65 ERA and his contract is going to hamstring that team for the next three years. It’s inevitable.
That’s why if I was a GM, I would stay away from Pineiro in the offseason.
I don’t need to see advanced statistics or any other stats, for that matter. I will just use the “eye test” on this one. And the eye test tells me: Once a mediocre pitcher, always a mediocre pitcher.
One year doesn’t change that.