Gregg Doyel: Having it both way with unions

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I promise you that I’m not obsessed with Gregg Doyel. I just can’t seem to let this one go.

You’ll recall this morning that Doyel stuck it to the player’s union and talked about how he wanted the Mets to crush them in the course of this Francisco Rodriguez business. The union is too powerful, Doyel thinks. It’s the tail wagging the dog. It has given millionaire players so much power that even the normal rules of supply and demand don’t apply to baseball anymore!

However, reader Steve A. alerts me to something Doyel wrote about Darrelle Revis’ holdout from the New York Jets last week that sort of messes with his anti-union narrative:

My problem is with an NFL system that leaves so many of its
players crippled, brain-damaged husks — picture an empty locust
shell, clinging to a tree — who lack the money to pay for medical
care as they grow older. So when an NFL player gets the rare chance to call his shot, I’m all for it — and Revis is Babe Ruth.

Know what would fix that system and make NFL players’ lives better? A stronger union.

And yes, I appreciate that there is a difference between a union achieving basic humane working conditions and one seeking increasingly esoteric benefits for its members. Unions can overreach and have in the past, to the point where they have harmed their members’ long term interests.

But I don’t think that can be said of the MLBPA. And I don’t think you can expect a union membership who can look to the other sports and see how crappy the players have things, relatively speaking, to stop fighting for whatever they can get from an ownership that, if they could, would treat them like chattels.

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.