Joel Pineiro sucked until he developed a two-seam fastball. He didn’t have one until 2008, and then it became his go-to pitch in 2009, when he basically ceased using his four-seam fastball (which doesn’t have much movement).
The only thing that I have a hard time believing he can maintain is his absurd 1.14 walks per 9 innings rate. I think that might've been best in the majors last year, and while I'm sure that he should be able to keep his walk rate lower than in years past, that rate is just unbelievable and likely to rise at least a little.
Bottom line - he's unlikely to repeat his 3.49 ERA from last year. But if he can even post a 4.00, that's just incredible from a guy we're calling our 5th starter!
Well, everything's going to rise this year. He's going to give up more walks, and he's also going to give up more than 11 home runs, because even super-sinkerballers usually give up more than 11 home runs and he's going to be facing DH's in most of his starts.
But Pineiro has become a different sort of pitcher. My concern wouldn't be for the quality of his pitching (though even a 4.00 ERA is probably a bit optimistic); my concern would be for the quantity. Pineiro threw 214 innings for the Cardinals last season. That was the first time he'd thrown 200 innings in a season since 2003. In the five intervening seasons, he averaged 148 innings.
If he pitches 400 innings over these next two seasons with a 4.50 ERA he'll be worth the $16 million. I'm just not sure about the 400 innings.