UPDATE: It’s over. Mychael Urban of CSN Bay Area and Jane Lee of MLB.com are reporting that the A’s have failed to reach an agreement with Hisashi Iwakuma. The club’s $19.1 million posting fee will be returned.
8:02 PM: The Athletics have until midnight ET to come to an agreement with Japanese right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma, but things don’t look good.
Jane Lee of MLB.com reports that the two sides have yet to talk today, while Athletics general manager Billy Beane said he would “it would be a surprise” if a deal was reached.
The A’s won the exclusive rights to negotiate with Iwakuma last month by submitting a $19.1 million posting fee. Some have suggested that the A’s may have made the bid in order to block the Mariners and/or Rangers, but their subsequent trade of Vin Mazzaro to the Royals is an indication that their interest was genuine. The more likely scenario is that Beane balked at Iwakuma’s asking price of $11-12 million per season. Hard to argue with that one.
While that’s tough news to take for A’s fans, the club is exploring a multi-year contract extension with Trevor Cahill, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com. Cahill, who turns 23 in March, went 18-8 with a 2.97 ERA this past season. The young right-hander will not even be arbitration-eligible until next offseason, so the team will likely attempt to buy out his arbitration years and perhaps his first year of free agency. The team signed Brett Anderson to a similar deal in April.
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.