Phils are out, now what?

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Last we heard from J.P. Ricciardi, he told Yahoo! Sports the following:

“It doesn’t matter if it’s today or tomorrow or Friday or next week. Nothing is close. Nothing is happening.”

This afternoon the Phillies went out and acquired 2008 American League
Cy Young winner Cliff Lee — and Ben Francisco, the righty bat they
have been seeking — in exchange for Triple-A pitcher Carlos Carrasco,
Jason Knapp, Jason Donald and Lou Marson, effectively eliminating the
Jays’ biggest potential suitor. So now what?

In terms of pure talent, the Rangers, with their deep and
major-league ready system (Justin Smoak, Neftali Feliz, Derek Holland)
have the most to offer, but even they have balked at the asking price, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com.

The Rangers have had discussions with
the Blue Jays concerning Halladay but have balked at the asking price.
The Blue Jays are looking for a package that includes prospects at the
level of pitcher Derek Holland, Minor League first baseman Justin Smoak
and outfielder Julio Borbon.

The Rangers, who have limited
financial flexibility anyway, aren’t willing to give that much for
Halladay. But they are still talking with other clubs, and general
manager Jon Daniels’ top priority is still starting pitching.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post
cites a team official who has spoken with Ricciardi as saying the Red
Sox, with their most recent offer of Clay Buchholz and others, now have
the best shot at landing Halladay.

Of course, it’s also possible that after all the spilled ink and all
the fake tweets, nothing happens and Halladay stays through 2010, only
to sign with the Yankees for $150 million in 2011.

Report: Arquimedes Caminero likely to sign with Yomiuri Giants

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 21: Arquimedes Caminero #48 of the Seattle Mariners delivers a pitch during a game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Safeco Field on August 21, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Brewers won the game 7-6. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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Mariners’ right-hander Arquimedes Caminero is nearing a deal with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball, according to Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. The club has reportedly agreed to sell the 29-year-old’s contract, Dutton writes, though no official move has been announced by either team yet. Caminero is under club control through 2020 and currently ineligible for arbitration.

The right-hander began the 2016 season with the Pirates but was sent to the Mariners in a trade for Seattle minor leaguers Jake Brentz and Pedro Vasquez in order to clear space in the Bucs’ bullpen. With the Mariners, Caminero produced a 3.66 ERA and 8.2 K/9 through 19 2/3 innings in the second half of the year. Although he boasts an electric fastball, one which consistently averaged 98.7 m.p.h. in 2016, his success rate has been tempered by poor control throughout his major league career. According to Dutton, the Mariners’ willingness to sell Caminero’s contract was a strong indication that they did not see him as a viable contender for their 2017 bullpen or as a potential trade chip further down the line.

Should the deal go through, the right-hander will be the second former Mariner to sign with a Japanese club for the 2017 season. Per Dutton’s report, outfielder Stefen Romero also picked up a contract with the Orix Buffaloes of NPB in late November.

Gerrit Cole set to begin throwing program

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 24:  Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates sits in the dugout in the second inning during the game against the Houston Astros at PNC Park on August 24, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
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During the Pirates’ FanFest on Saturday, right-hander Gerrit Cole announced that he is back up to full health after being shut down with elbow inflammation in September. Per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Cole said he’ll start a throwing program on Monday as he works on regaining his form for the 2017 season.

The 26-year-old pitched through 116 innings for the Pirates in 2016, delivering a 3.88 ERA and 2.5 WARP before landing on the disabled list in June with a triceps strain and again in August with elbow inflammation. It was a steep drop for the right-hander, who saw a considerable spike in his ERA and BB/9 rate and struggled to strike out batters at the 8.7 mark he managed in 2015.

The upside? Inflammation was the worst of Cole’s issues in 2016, and while the newfound health issues didn’t help his case for an extension, a more serious injury doesn’t appear to be on the horizon.