The White Sox have considered a few in-house options to fill the void in their starting rotation until Jake Peavy is ready to return from shoulder surgery. Now we can add another familiar face to the list.
Jon Heyman of SI.com reported earlier this afternoon that the club is considering re-signing free agent right-hander Freddy Garcia. White Sox general manager Ken Williams told Scott Merkin of MLB.com that he hasn’t spoken with Garcia recently, nor has the club made a formal offer, but Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago has confirmed the team’s interest.
Padilla also hears that the Orioles and Yankees are still “considered to be interested” in Garcia, but that isn’t much different than what we heard early last week.
The 34-year-old Garcia went 12-6 with a 4.64 ERA over 28 starts with the White Sox last season. While he reached 157 innings for the first time since 2006, he struck out just 89 batters over 157 innings, averaging a career-low 5.10 K/9. For a guy who gives up nearly as many fly balls as he does grounders, that’s not all that promising.
While securing Garcia as an insurance policy makes some sense for the White Sox, the veteran right-hander would be squeezed out of a rotation spot once Peavy is ready to return, at least on paper. Of course, Garcia is related to White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen by marriage, so his comfort level with the club can’t be discounted.
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.