Reliever Arquimedes Caminero made all three of his outs via strikeouts in a scoreless third inning in the Pirates' 3-1 win over the Yankees Friday night, and by all accounts, he's looked great so far this spring. I wouldn't normally make much of that sort of thing if not for this:
Arquimedes Caminero produced 8 swinging strikes and 3 swinging Ks in his IP tonight. Hurdle: "Kind of reminds me of when Holdzkom came up"— Travis Sawchik (@Sawchik_Trib) March 7, 2015
Caminero is out of options. When the Pirates traded for him, I'd figured he was mostly a placeholder -- a low-risk, free-talent acquisition the Bucs were making because he throws hard and they had an open spot on their 40-man. Now it appears he might be more than that. Hurdle's comparison of Caminero to John Holdzkom is high praise indeed.
Ironically, Holdzkom risks losing his spot on the 25-man if Caminero makes the team. Mark Melancon, Tony Watson and Antonio Bastardo will surely make it, and one would think Stolmy Pimentel and Jeff Locke would have the inside track on roster spots as well, given that they're out of options (and given that Brandon Cumpton's injury, if it's serious, would erode the Pirates' starting pitching depth). Radhames Liz is also on a big-league contract and will probably get a spot. If Caminero makes the team, one or both of Holdzkom and Jared Hughes will probably start the season in the minors, since they have options. That is, obviously, no big deal -- there will be a ton of roster moves throughout the year, and Holdzkom and/or Hughes won't be in the minors long if they start the season there.