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Mark Cuban is not interested in the Mets or the Dodgers

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There aren’t many sure things in this world, but one sure thing is that whenever a baseball team’s ownership situation is in flux, people will start mentioning Mark Cuban’s name.  This time Cuban is making a preemptive strike:

“I’m not chasing any more baseball teams … “I’ve just come to the conclusion, if I’m going to write a huge check, I’d rather be wooed than have to chase … whether it’s here or the Dodgers, for that matter, I’m not going to put myself in a bidding situation.”

The “here” referred to the Mets.

I get why people always think about Cuban in these situations. He owns a sports franchise already and has expressed interest in at least two baseball teams in the past. But if you believe Wikipedia, there are over 400 billionaires in the United States alone.  Figure there are scores more Chuck Greenberg-types (i.e. mere millionaires who can wrangle together a number of rich investors).  As such, it’s always a smarter bet to pick “the field” before focusing on Cuban.  And that’s before you even figure in baseball’s alleged reluctance to allow Cuban into the ownership club.

No one ever mentions, I dunno, Jerry Yang or George Lucas or Michael Dell or any of the other people scads of money.  Heck, maybe we should start a new category of billionaire rumor-mongering.  That would keep us occupied until spring training starts.

Heard this: Gordon Getty was seen buying a Dodgers cap at an Inglewood gas station yesterday …

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.