The Pittsburgh Pirates have acquired right-handed pitcher Arquimedes Caminero from the Miami Marlins in exchange for cash considerations, the team has announced. They previously had an open spot on the 40-man roster, so no corresponding move needs to be made. Caminero was recently designated for assignment by the Marlins on January 28th, and it’s interesting that the Pirates were able to get him for cash considerations, rather than waiting until he went on waivers.

So far in his brief MLB career, Caminero has shown a strong ability to get strikeouts, with some poor control in the process. He’s a very hard thrower, with an average fastball of 95.5 MPH. Out of the 692 pitchers who threw at least one inning last year, Caminero ranked tied for 43rd in average fastball velocity (he tied with John Holdzkom and Gerrit Cole). He’s still prospect eligible, and recently ranked him as the 14th best prospect in Miami’s system.

This move adds further competition to the battle for the final three bullpen spots. Prior to this move, the Pirates had five pitchers battling for three spots. Two of those pitchers were Vance Worley and Jeff Locke. One of those two will end up in the rotation, and there is a chance that both will begin the year in the rotation if Charlie Morton isn’t healthy by opening day. That leaves John Holdzkom, Jared Hughes, and Stolmy Pimentel for the final three spots, with a tough decision coming when Morton returns.

Pimentel and Caminero are both out of options, which means that the Pirates will either have to send Holdzkom or Hughes down to the minors to keep everyone, or make a decision on Pimentel or Caminero. They have similar profiles, as both are prospect eligible, and both have great raw stuff, but neither player has made the successful jump to the majors, and both have dealt with control issues. Eventually, one of these three pitchers might have to be designated for assignment when Morton returns, unless the Pirates want to send both Holdzkom and Hughes down. For now, this is another live arm to add to the mix, and another possible reclamation project for Ray Searage and Jim Benedict to play with.

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  1. Let the arms race begin ! It’s time to bring the high stinky cheese! (No processed cheese please, only artisan cheese allowed.)

  2. There’s too much talent in Pimentel to give up on still. Especially with the track record of the gentlemen in charge of fixing these guys. There could still be a solid middle rotation starter or Back end bullpen arm there. He;s not making it through waivers

  3. I wouldn’t necessarily call Holdzkom a lock for the oping day roster but he is as close as you can get to one. What about Radames Liz too? So far the bullpen is 1. Melancon 2. Watson 3.Bastardo 4. Holdzkom 5. Hughes. I would think those 5 are locks. With the final 2 spots up for grabs between Liz,Pimentel,Cumpton,Caminero,Lincoln,LaFromboise,Richard and a few others I’m missing

    • I don’t see Hughes as a lock because he has an option left. I think Liz is a lock because they’re paying him $1mm on a major league deal and he can start and relieve.

  4. I like the move. He has appeared in 19 major league games and has had scoreless appearances in 13 of them. If he ups the command a bit, he should (a) have even more frequent scoreless outings, and (b) allow less damage in the others. And he’s basically a free shot.

    They will likely be able to deal Pimentel after spring training for more than they paid for Caminero if forced to do something with Stolmy. And if they can’t, then they will be able to sneak him through waivers.

  5. On my I Pad…. This site has been reduced by a 1/3 and looks like it has been put in a vise…anyone else having issues?

    • I forget this every time I write about Hughes. Mostly because I made the mistake early in the off-season, and now I forget whether the mistake was thinking he had an option left, or thinking he was out of options.

  6. Seems like a pretty smart move – sounds like another power arm that needs to address control issues. I have never been a Pimentel fan and still feel that the Pirates made a ill advised trade of Morris last year, so they could avoid DFA’ng Pimentel. He isn’t deserving of such protection IMHO. So, I think this year it will be fish or cut bait with Pimentel. If he continues to struggle, and this kid or Liz pitches well, just let him go. Holdzkom has closer stuff – and I hope he gets a shot at being the closer at some point this year.

    The most remarkable statement in this article was the one stating that three pitchers (this kid, along with Holdzkom and Cole) averaged 95.5 last year – and that was only good enough for 43rd in that category. That is amazing.

    • Why would you hope Holdzkom gets a shot at closing this year?? We have a dominant closer in Melancon and another quality option in Watson. Holdzkom hasn’t even pitched 10 major league innings and you want him closing over the proven quality guys we have and that isn’t even mentioning Bastardo.

          • Dominate gets way over used. Dominate gets you to the HOF. This guy will have to purchase a ticket to get in.

          • Dominate gets way over used. Chapman is dominate. Rivera was dominate. Kimbrel is dominate. Dancin Melancon is not in the same area code. He will have you on the edge of your seat way to often to ever be considered dominate

          • I have to agree that dominant is not really an apt description of Melancon. Very good, sure. For pitchers (counting closers and relief pitchers only) with 30 innings or more, I think Melancon was 14th in WHIP, which was mostly due to his low walk rate. His K rate of 9 was good too but there are a few dozen other relievers out there with better numbers.
            I think dominant should be reserved for a handful of relievers because if we start considering Melancon dominant, then there are probably 40 or 50 relievers who are dominant. There are like 7 or 8 relievers in the league that put up video game numbers in one category or another, Melancon isn’t one of them.
            Not to crap on Melancon though, he certainly had a great year. Regarding Holdzkom, I certainly hope he is for real but it is too early to tell.

      • Melancon did a very good job as a closer, after Grilli imploded unexpectedly. But. I think he was even better as an 8th inning setup man. If someone else could assume the closer role, we could have three guys – Watson, Melancon, and (fill in the blank) that would rival what KC had last year. Holzkom seems to have the stuff and killer instinct of a closer – he just needs to be consistent with his control. If not him, maybe a longer shot like Liz.

        This Spring is going to have some especially interesting situations to follow, such as:

        – Polanco – is he ready to flourish and be the man in RF?
        – Holdzkom, Liz, and Caminero – all competing in the BP
        – Worley, Richard, Locke – all trying to get a rotation spot
        – Kang – is he anything close to what his stats suggest he is?
        – First Base – Alvarez – will he have a revival in 2015?
        – Hart – can he be a contributor?
        – Catcher – Will we get any offense out of the Cervelli/Stewart tandem?
        – 4th OF – Lambo, Hart, Tabata, Rojas, Kang, Rodriguez???

        can’t wait to see how some of these things play out in another 6-8 weeks….

  7. Interesting that the fish would DFA their 14th best prospect. Although I guess numerical rankings are meaningless but still, he is an interesting pitcher. Didn’t realize the Marlins had become that deep. The NL East should be interesting this year as the Nats could win 95+ and the Mets should be better along with the Marlins.

  8. i guess it’s their track record to do the “reversible” move and send Holdzkom down.

    It’s a shame, but heck. Caminero could turn into another Holdzkom himself.

  9. I hope the Pirates don’t stick with Pimentel or Hughes and send John Holdzkom to the minors just because he has “options” left. At this point in their success cycle, the Pirates should play their best players. If Pimentel is not among the Pirates best 12 or 13 pitchers, they should be content to risk losing him. Holdzkom seems to be the best pitcher for the remaining bullpen spot, but then again I am just a fan and not an expert.

    • I agree with Pimentel. Hughes actually is back to where he was a couple years ago and was a quality arm in the pen. I believe he had an injury issue and has worked himself back. Did very well as a 7th/8th inning guy last year.

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