John Smoltz joins TBS as announcer, but still not officially retiring

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Turner Sports announced that John Smoltz has joined the TBS broadcast team as an analyst for their Sunday afternoon games and select Braves games.
Smoltz joins a lineup of color commentators that includes Ron Darling, Buck Martinez, David Wells, and Dennis Eckersley, with Ernie Johnson, Brian Anderson, and Dick Stockton filling play-by-play duties. Chip Caray’s name is nowhere to be seen, thankfully.
On the surface the new gig seemingly means Smoltz is retiring, but he talked previously about wanting to join a team at midseason if he plays in 2010 and it’s possible that the announcing job is just something to do while passing the time (or a way to gauge whether he’s truly ready to call it quits).
Smoltz was terrible after signing with the Red Sox last season, getting released after going 2-5 with an 8.32 ERA in eight starts, but then had a 4.26 ERA and excellent 40/9 K/BB ratio in seven starts after joining the Cardinals.
His overall ERA was ugly, but his 73/18 K/BB ratio in 78 innings overall and strong stretch-run performance certainly suggest that he’s still capable of getting big-league hitters out as a back-of-the-rotation starter or reliever. And if not he’ll probably be making a speech in Cooperstown five years from now.

Nationals Acquire Ryan Raburn From White Sox

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The Washington Nationals have acquired outfielder Ryan Raburn from the Chicago White Sox. Raburn had been playing at Triple-A Charlotte. He’ll be assigned to Triple-A Syracuse in the Nats organization. The Nationals will send cash or a player to be named later to the White Sox to complete the deal.

Raburn has yet to play in the majors this season. Last year he hit .220/.309/.404 with nine homers in 113 games for the Colorado Rockies. The year before that he hit an excellent .301/.393/.543 in part time play for the Indians. Over the course of his 11 year career the 36-year-old has hit .253/.317/.436, which breaks down to an OPS+ of exactly 100, which is league average. Primarily an outfielder, Raburn has played every position except shortstop and catcher in his career. He’s even pitched twice.

The Nats plans for him aren’t entirely clear, but depth it depth.

If the Tigers are sub-.500 at the end of June it’ll be fire sale time

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Jon Morosi reports that that the Detroit Tigers will make all veterans available via trade if they’re still under .500 by the end of June.

This was the position they entered the offseason with — everyone is available! — but they ended up gearing up for one more push with the core of veterans they currently employ. It was not a bad move, I don’t think. With the exception of the Indians, the AL Central is mostly down, or at least appeared to be over the winter, with the Royals in decline and the Twins and White Sox seemingly a few years away from contention. The Twins, however, have been fantastic and the Tigers have mostly underachieved.

So we’re back to this. Which veterans the Tigers can reasonably unload, however, is an open question. J.D. Martinez is in his walk year, so while tradable, he may not bring back a big return. Guys like Justin Upton, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera either have very large contracts or no-trade protection.

The end of June is still a while from now, of course, and while the Tigers are under .500, they’re only 4.5 games behind the Twins. But they had better turn it around or else it sounds like the front office is going to turn the page.