Buster Olney tweeting last night:
When Alex Gonzalez walked into the Atlanta
clubhouse the Braves’ players gave him a standing ovation.
First thought: wow.
Second thought: Buster only knows that because someone on the inside in Braves land made a special point to tell him about it. Which seems kind of sad to me, actually, because it means someone is really going out of their way to bury Yunel Escobar in the press.
Lots of someones actually, because it’s not just Buster with this stuff. Talking casually to other writers over the past day or two and the most striking thing is that almost everyone has talked to someone with the Braves who has had something bad to say about the guy. There’s always a bit of an analyst/reporter split in evaluating a trade, but the degree to which reporters with team sources all love the Gonzalez deal so much and analysts don’t is (a) uncanny; (b) almost certainly a function of hearing negatives about him from Braves sources.
I’m not saying that the Braves are on some orchestrated campaign against Escobar, but really, the sheer amount that has been put out there on this subject is getting to be a bit much. We know Atlanta didn’t like the guy, but at some point people need to be professionals and let it go, don’t they?
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.
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.