Baseball

Michael Pineda Drawing Trade Interest

Twins righty Michael Pineda is drawing trade interest, tweets Jon Morosi of MLB Network.  The 32-year-old takes the bump tonight at Target Field against Matt Manning and the Tigers, in what figures to be a well-scouted affair.  According to Darren Wolfson of KSTP TV, the Twins have not held extension talks with Pineda, who’s due for free agency after the season.  Wolfson notes that the Padres have scouted Pineda this month.

The cellar-dwelling Twins dealt one impending free agent last week as they shipped Nelson Cruz to the Rays.  In addition to Pineda, Andrelton Simmons, J.A. Happ, Alex Colome, and Hansel Robles are set for free agency after the season and may be sent packing by Friday’s deadline.  More desirable, but perhaps less likely to be dealt, are a trio of quality Twins players who are controlled through 2022: Byron Buxton, Jose Berrios, and Taylor Rogers.  The Twins figure to be central to this year’s trade deadline action.

The Twins re-signed Pineda to a two-year, $20MM deal back in December 2019, despite the knowledge that he’d miss the first 39 games of 2020 due to a PED suspension.  Assuming Pineda is making $10MM this year, more than $3MM will remain at the deadline.  Pineda sports a 3.93 through 13 starts this year, though his average fastball velocity is down to a career-worst 90.8 miles per hour.  On a related note, he’s punched out only 21% of batters faced, his worst mark since 2014.  Pineda’s strong control remains intact, with a walk rate south of 6%.  As a flyball-heavy hurler, he’s always been prone to the longball.

Despite adding Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, and Joe Musgrove in the offseason, the Padres continue to seek starting pitching depth.  Dinelson Lamet, working his way back from forearm inflammation, will make a temporary move to the bullpen once he returns.  Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune previously linked the club to Kenta Maeda, Kyle Gibson, Jordan Lyles, Danny Duffy, and Jon Gray.

As Jon Heyman of MLB Network sees it, almost all contenders aside from perhaps the White Sox and Astros are prioritizing starting pitching.

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