Rangers knock around potential trade target Roy Oswalt

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Teams will often acquire players who have done well against them, which is natural on one level and kind of silly on another.
For instance, a couple years ago the Twins acquired veteran outfielder Craig Monroe from the Cubs and repeatedly talked about how he was a career .321 hitter against them. Monroe went on to hit .202 in 58 games for the Twins, who released him in August.
I bring all of this up partly because I’m still bitter about the Twins wasting $3.8 million on Monroe and partly because the Rangers knocked Roy Oswalt around yesterday after various reports put them in the mix for the Astros’ on-the-block right-hander.
Oswalt coughed up a season-high eight runs, including homers to Josh Hamilton and Michael Young, and fell to 4-6 with a 4.54 ERA in 12 career starts against the Rangers. Afterward manager Ron Washington stressed that Oswalt “still looked like he had something left” despite the poor outing, which is definitely true.
Thanks to horrendous run support from Houston’s terrible lineup (and the occasional clunker like he turned in yesterday) Oswalt leads the league with 10 losses compared to just five wins, but don’t let that fool you into thinking he’s pitched poorly. Oswalt has a 3.55 ERA, .231 opponents’ batting average, and 97/29 K/BB ratio in 104 innings, which is certainly good enough for him to be 10-5 instead of 5-10.
Of course, also worth noting is that Oswalt has a 3.73 ERA in 28 career interleague starts, compared to a 3.20 mark in the NL.

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.