This is interesting. Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports:
Major League Baseball is investigating whether four-time All-Star catcher Paul Lo Duca’s relationship with steroid distributor Kirk Radomski was arranged by his former agents, three people with knowledge of the investigation told USA TODAY Sports. They spoke Tuesday on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the investigation.
And it’s not just old news simply because it involves an old player like Lo Duca. Because the agents in question — Seth and Sam Levinson — are also Melky Cabrera’s agents. And the information about the Lo Duca-Radomski relationship has arisen in the context of MLB’s investigation into the Melky Cabrera fake website craziness.
Nightengale lays out the relationship between Lo Duca, Radomski and the Levinsons. Some of this was in the Mitchell Report — we know Lo Duca was a total genius and wrote personal checks to Radomski for his HGH — but Nightengale reports that the checking account was in both Lo Duca’s and the Levinsons’ names. That’s news. The Levinsons strongly deny any relationship to Radomski or any involvement in procuring PEDs for their clients, Lo Duca and Melky Cabrera included.
Obviously it’s too early to tell what this may mean. But it certainly puts that whole Melky website thing in a new light. Remember, the guy who created it worked for the Levinsons. He claimed to be a lone gunman, but one wonders if Major League Baseball isn’t playing Jim Garrison here and looking to see if there were any agents on the grassy knoll.
If so: bye-bye agents livelihood, as they will be drummed out of the player representation business permanently, one assumes.
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.