According to Kelsie Smith of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Twins have inked Jim Thome to a one-year contract. LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune is reporting that the deal is worth $1.5 million with another $700,000 available through performance-based incentives.
Thome, who turns 40 near the end of the 2010 season, hit .249/.366/.481 with 23 home runs and 77 RBI last year in 362 at-bats between the White Sox and Dodgers. He will struggle to find playing time in Minnesota but he brings a significant amount of pop to a Twins bench that lacked just that last season. CTB’s own Aaron Gleeman broke down the big man’s potential value in a post last week.
If manager Ron Gardenhire really wants to get creative this year, he can slide usual designated hitter Jason Kubel out to left field and use Thome as the DH against some right-handed pitchers. Delmon Young would then be benched. Whatever the scenario, there’s no doubting that the Twins just got a little bit better, and for a relatively low cost.
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.
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.