Link-O-Rama: Kevin Gregg will get nothing and like it

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* Impending free agent Kevin Gregg said yesterday that he’d like to re-sign with the Cubs and be a closer again in 2010. Neither will happen. During the past three seasons Gregg has blown 20 of 104 save chances while losing 19 games and posting a 3.86 ERA. He’s a second-tier setup man, at best.
* Admittedly he’s pretty far down on the Mets’ laundry list of problems this season, but for $8.5 million and a $2 million signing bonus Francisco Rodriguez has allowed 34 runs in 68 innings while blowing seven saves in 41 chances. Of course, unlike Gregg he’s in no danger of being stripped of closer duties thanks to being owed $11.5 million in 2010, $11.5 million in 2011, and $17.5 million or a $3.5 million buyout in 2012. Yeesh.
* Brad Penny tossed a complete-game shutout yesterday, so his final tally after returning to the NL is 4-1 with a 2.59 ERA in six starts. His totals in the AL were 7-8 with a 5.61 ERA in 24 starts. Chances that Penny chooses to sign with an NL team as a free agent this winter: 99.9 percent, with the other 0.1 percent reserved for Japan, Triple-A, or retirement.
* Last night’s complete-game shutout of Pawtucket Boston gives Roy Halladay a 2.97 ERA in 12 starts since the trading deadline came and went with him remaining in Toronto. For comparison, Cliff Lee has a 3.28 ERA in 11 starts with the Phillies.
* Ichiro Suzuki has already locked up his ninth straight 200-hit season, but barring one of the greatest four-game stretches in baseball history he’s going to score fewer than 100 runs for the first time.
* If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the video of Matt Diaz’s indecisive baserunning basically ending the Braves’ season. Diaz has hit .319/.390/.488 in 425 plate appearances, but something tells me that most fans thinking back to this season won’t remember his hitting.

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.