Orioles 'close' to getting Millwood from Rangers

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Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles are “very close” to acquiring Kevin Millwood from the Rangers in exchange for Chris Ray. This morning the newspaper noted that Baltimore would assume the bulk of Millwood’s remaining contract, which pays him $12 million in 2010, so that’s presumably why Texas is willing to part with him for a relatively minimal return.
Ray was once a very promising young reliever and took over closing duties in Baltimore as a 24-year-old in 2006, but missed all of 2008 following Tommy John elbow surgery and struggled in his return, posting a 7.27 ERA in 43.1 innings. He’s arbitration eligible for the first time and was thought to be a non-tender candidate, so while not without value to the Rangers acquiring Ray seems secondary to shedding Millwood’s salary.
Millwood has gone 48-46 with a 4.57 ERA for the Rangers since signing a five-year, $60 million deal as a free agent in December of 2005, including 13-10 with a 3.67 ERA over 31 starts in 2009. His poor 123/71 K/BB ratio suggests a regression is likely for 2010, but he figures to be good for 180 innings of league-average pitching and Baltimore can certainly use the rotation help.

Josh Johnson retires from baseball

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Josh Johnson #55 of the San Diego Padres poses during Picture Day on February 21, 2014 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
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Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.

Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.

Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.

Report: Angels close to a multi-year deal with Luis Valbuena

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 08:  Luis Valbuena #18 of the Houston Astros hits a three run walkoff home run in the ninth inning to defeat the Oakland Athletics 10-9 at Minute Maid Park on July 8, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.

Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.

Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.