According to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun, No. 3 overall pick Manny Machado is expected to make his pro debut with the Gulf Coast League Orioles on Friday.
Machado, an 18-year-old shortstop, was signed to a $5.25 million signing bonus by the Orioles earlier this month. It was the second-largest signing bonus in franchise history, only topped by Matt Wieters’ $6 million signing bonus when he was selected with the No. 5 pick out of Georgia Tech in 2007.
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Machado hits from the right side and the plate and hails from the Miami area, so we’ve already heard plenty of Alex Rodriguez comparisons in terms of his projection. We won’t go there quite yet, but he was regarded as the top high school position player available on draft day.
Zrebiec writes that Machado hasn’t played a meaningful game since June, so in an effort to be cautious, the Orioles plan to use him as designated hitter over his first couple of games with the GCL club.
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.