Michael Pineda will return to the Twins after all. The free-agent pitcher is in agreement on a 2-year contract, according to multiple reports, including Pierre Noujaim.
— Pierre Noujaim (@TheNoujFOX9) December 6, 2019
Pineda will serve the final 39 games of his suspension from 2019 at the beginning of the 2020 season. After “winning” his appeal on the PED suspension, however, he will still be eligible to pitch in October if the Twins return to the playoffs. In any case, the Twins will need a six-week stopgap in the starting rotation during Pineda’s absence.
Pineda was one of the candidates we wrote about as a target for a 1- or 2-year deal in Minnesota. The first reports suggested that his next contract will pay him $20 million.
At the time of the suspension Pineda was pitching like their best starter. People were making the case outside the Twins organization that Big Mike should start Game 1 for Minnesota in the postseason. Then he got suspended the same weekend that Byron Buxton was going in for shoulder surgery, and the Twins lost two impact players basically overnight. In total, Pineda made 26 starts in 2019 for the Twins; in his arbitrary “second-half” of those starts he ran a 3.07 ERA with a 26.8% strikeout rate. He’d found his fastball-slider combination and was helping to carry the Twins’ pitching staff.