Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN – The Minnesota Twins announced today that they have signed right-handed pitcher Michael Pineda to a two-year contract through the 2021 season and veteran catcher Alex Avila to a one-year contract through the 2020 season.
Pineda, 30, started 26 games for the Twins last season, going 11-5 with a 4.01 ERA (146.0 IP, 65 ER), 28 walks, 140 strikeouts and 13 quality starts. In his final 14 starts of 2019, he went 7-2 with a 2.96 ERA (82.0 IP, 27 ER), 14 quality starts and a 1.09 WHIP.
The Yaguate, Dominican Republic native was originally signed by the Twins in December of 2017 and missed the 2018 season recovering from “Tommy John” surgery on his right elbow. The 6-foot-7, 280-pound pitcher has a career record of 51-46 with a 4.04 ERA (826.0 IP, 371 ER), 185 walks and 827 strikeouts in 143 starts with the Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees and Twins.
Pineda will miss the first six weeks of the 2020 season while serving the remainder of his 60-game suspension he received last September. Additionally, the right-hander will be eligible for postseason play.
Avila, 32, played in 63 games for the Arizona Diamondbacks last season, hitting .207 (34-for-164) with eight doubles, nine home runs, 24 RBI, 36 walks and a .353 on-base percentage - the fourth best OBP among all major league catchers (minimum of 200 plate appearances). He posted the highest caught-stealing rate of any catcher last season at 52.4% (minimum 50 games) and was ranked by Baseball Prospectus as baseball’s “Second Best Throwing Catcher.”
The Hialeah, Florida native was originally drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the fifth round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Alabama. He has played 11 seasons with the Tigers, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs and Diamondbacks, hitting .235 (688-for-2922) with 144 doubles, 103 home runs, 386 RBI, 498 walks and a .348 on-base percentage in 995 games.
The Twins now have 37 players on their major league roster; 19 pitchers, three catchers, seven infielders, seven outfielders and one designated hitter.