UPDATE: According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, Taillon will receive “a bit more than $5 million” from the Pirates.
9:05 PM: According to Chuck Finder of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Pirates have agreed to terms with No. 2 overall pick right-hander Jameson Taillon. The pitcher’s father informed the paper of the signing.
Terms haven’t been released, but the 18-year-old right-hander was considered the best high school pitcher available in June’s draft.
Taillon has those two key words everyone talks about with a young pitcher: Tall and projectable. Standing at 6-foot-6 and 225 pounds, he already has three plus-pitches in his arsenal, including a fastball that touches the high-90s, a slider and a curve.
It’s only natural that we’ll hear comparisons to other Texas right-handers like Roger Clemens and Josh Beckett. Kyle Drabek, now a property of the Blue Jays, was drafted by the Phillies out of the same high school as Taillon, The Woodlands, in the 2006 draft.
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.