Pittsburgh Pirates Where Are They Now: Arquimedes Caminero


At one point Arquimedes Caminero appeared to be the closer of the future for the Pittsburgh Pirates…. but where is he now?

Entering the 2015 season there was no debate as to who the closer was for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Coming off back-to-back dominant seasons out of the Pirate bullpen, Mark Melancon had the job sewed up.

However, Melancon was set to hit free agency following the 2016 season, so his time with the Pittsburgh Pirates would soon be coming to an end. During the 2015 season, a young right-handed reliever appeared to be solidifying himself as the team’s closer of the future when Melancon moved on. This pitcher was Arquimedes Caminero.

On February 4, 2015, the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Caminero from the Miami Marlins in exchange for cash consideration. Caminero then entered a fierce spring training bullpen battle. Coming out of spring training that season, he secured a spot in the Pirate bullpen and played a large role in the team having one of the best bullpens in baseball that season.

Caminero quickly made an impression with the Pirates and their fans. Possessing a 100+ MPH fastball, as well as a plus slider, Caminero had eye popping stuff that easily caught the attention of anyone who watched him pitch.

The Dominican native had pitched in just 19.2 MLB innings prior to 2015. Then in 2015, he logged 74.2 innings in 73 games for the Pirates. Caminero posted a 3.62 ERA, 3.80 FIP, 23.0% strikeout rate, and a 9.1% walk rate in these 74.2 innings of work.

With a fastball that averaged 98.7 MPH with a 22.5% whiff rate and a slider that limited opposing batters to a .365 slugging percentage while generating a 20.2% whiff rate, Caminero was a handful for opposing batters. He limited opposing batters to a 5.2% barrel rate and an average exit velocity of 86.5 MPH. Not only was Caminero’s stuff filthy, it was difficult to barrel up.

With the season he put together, Caminero appeared to be firmly solidifying himself as the team’s closer of the future. Hell, when Melancon got off to a sluggish start in April with Caminero was blowing a 100+ MPH fastball past hitters, a lot of folks were already calling for Caminero to take over as the team’s closer.

Following his strong 2015 season, Caminero entered the 2016 firmly entrenched in the Pirate bullpen. However, things would quickly go awry for the hard-throwing righty.

Caminero logged just 41 innings for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2016. While his 3.51 ERA was not bad, his peripherals painted a different picture. His FIP ballooned to 4.76, and his HR/9 had risen from 0.84 in 2015 to 0.88. The biggest issue was his drop in strikeouts and rise in walks. Caminero’s strikeout rate dropped to 17.1% while his walk rate climbed to an alarming 11.1%.

This led to Caminero’s Pirate career ending on August 6 when he was traded to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for a player to be named later.

In Seattle, Caminero’s struggles would continue. Caminero posted a 5.29 FIP, 1.45 HR/9, 18.0% strikeout rate, and an 11.2% walk rate in 18.2 innings of work with the Mariners. Due to these struggles, his tenure in Seattle would not last long.

On December 16, 2016, the Mariners sold Caminero’s contract to the Yomiuri Giants of the Nippon Professional Baseball League in Japan. The following day, he inked a 1-year deal with the Giants.

After pitching two seasons in Japan, Caminero attempting a return to the states. On January 3, 2019, he signed a minor league deal with the New York Mets. After spending spring training in MLB camp, Caminero started the season at the Triple-A level. After posting a 5.09 ERA in 17.2 innings of work, Caminero was released by the Mets.

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Caminero then went to the Mexican League where he signed with Diablos Rojos del Mexico. He posted strong numbers in 20.1 innings of work in Mexico posting a 1.33 ERA, 3.91 FIP, 19 strikeouts, and he issued just seven walks.

With the 2020 season on hold, Caminero remains without a job in the states. However, after pitching well in the Mexican League last year the door could be opened for an opportunity with a MLB team again in the future.