Pineiro is coming off a very bad season for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He signed a 2 year, $16 million contract before the 2010 season after a very productive year with the Cardinals where he won 15 games and got just about every hitter to hit the ball on the ground. He was 7-7, with a 5.13 ERA for the Angels last year and by the end of the season, was pitching in the bullpen.
Cook has struggled to stay healthy each of the past couple of seasons for the Rockies. He has digressed every year since winning 16 games for the Rockies in 2008, though I think he pitched well in 2009, going 11-6 with a 4.16 ERA in 27 starts. His past two seasons have been terrible; he was 6-8 with a 5.08 ERA in 2010 and 3-10 with a 6.03 ERA in 2011. Naturally, his WHIP has increased to almost 1.6 over the past two years.
I have figured that teams likely interested in Oswalt, Jackson and Saunders have zeroed in on pitchers such as Jeff Francis, Jon Garland and Brad Penny as less costly alternatives if prices of the first group get too high. And unless the first three sign almost immediately, the second group of pitchers will net somewhere in the $2-$5 million range, depending on demand.
There is a group of pitchers who will see their stock fall due to the signing of Cook and Pineiro. Kevin Millwood, Zach Duke, Livan Hernandez, Jaime Moyer and Tim Wakefield all expect major league contracts going in to 2012. Millwood and Duke will probably have to settle for minor league contract now. Hernandez (Nationals), Moyer (Phillies) and Wakefield (Red Sox) have nowhere near the same value that they had for their former teams. All three have to be thinking about retirement, as the quest to make a new team at their ages on a minor league contract is less than likely.
I personally think Pineiro could have waited and probably landed a guaranteed contract, even if it was a low base salary. Cook was less likely, but the market could have changed if the Red Sox lose out on Oswalt or Saunders. Cook taking the minor league contract made it easier for the Red Sox, when he possibly could have gotten a guaranteed contract later on. If the market for starting pitching falls after the eventual signings of Oswalt, Jackson and Saunders, pitchers like Francis, Garland and Penny are going to blame pitchers like Pineiro and Cook for taking non-guaranteed contracts when there is still that much quality on the free agent market. Maybe teams (Mets perhaps?) will be more interested in adding Francis, Garland or Penny if they could be had for a minor league contract. What have you got to lose?