The Yankees already have Andy Pettitte in the fold, they likely have Kei Igawa on the way and they still have Roger Clemens in their sights whenever he decides about next year.
But a person familiar with the Yankees' thinking said the team also has renewed interest in righthanded pitcher Joel Pineiro, who hit the free-agent market yesterday following a subpar season with Seattle. He was one of several players granted free agency because he was not tendered a contract by his 2006 club by Tuesday's midnight deadline.
Pineiro, 28, earned $6.8 million last season when he went 8-13 with a career-worst 6.36 ERA over 40 appearances - including 25 starts before he was shifted to the bullpen in August. The Yanks also had expressed interest in Pineiro before the July 31 trade deadline before acquiring Cory Lidle in the Bobby Abreu trade.
Of course, there are a few danger signs to consider in an exploding market for mediocre pitchers. Pineiro's 58-55 lifetime record is not that different from that of former teammate Gil Meche, who recently earned a five-year commitment worth $55 million from Kansas City despite a 55-44 career mark. And Jason Marquis, who sported a 6.02 ERA last season, signed a three-year contract in excess of $20 million last week with the Cubs.
Pineiro went 30-18 combined over 2002-03, but has gone just 21-35 over the past three seasons, including stints on the disabled list with shoulder and elbow injuries.
Still, Pineiro also went 1-0 with a 3.63 ERA and one save in 15 relief appearances last season for the Mariners. He could provide the Yankees with some flexibility in case Igawa and/or Clemens is not signed - especially because injured starters Randy Johnson and Carl Pavano are not certain to be ready to start the season.