The Mets, whose recent winning ways have apparently stimulated some brain cells in management, have finally done what they should have done weeks ago and have sent Jenrry Mejia down to the minors to stretch out and get converted back into a starting pitcher. He’ll ply his trade in Double-A Binghamton.
I’ve beat this drum over and over again, but when you have a studly young starting pitcher it’s a mistake to fastrack him to the bullpen. Yes, he’ll likely be effective as a reliever, but so will any number of other guys because it’s inherently easier to throw fastballs for an inning than it is to start a game and use your full panoply of pitches against an entire lineup.
As it was, Mejia wasn’t being used that often and every day he wasn’t throwing his full arsenal was a wasted day in his development. OK, maybe not totally wasted — being on the big club for a while was probably good for big league orientation purposes — but training to go seven innings is more important than figuring out where your locker and the library and the guidance counselor are.
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.