Rich Harden was a bust for the Rangers after signing a one-year, $7.5 million deal last winter, posting a 5.58 ERA in 92 innings. Despite his lengthy injury history it was the first time that Harden’s performance ceased being fantastic, but Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that at least seven teams “have checked in” on the 29-year-old right-hander.
Morosi lists the Yankees, Twins, Rays, Diamondbacks, Brewers, Mariners, and Rockies among the interested teams, but adds that “some like him as a starter… some like him as a reliever.”
Harden moving to the bullpen in an effort to stay healthy makes plenty of sense, but it’s no longer safe to simply assume he’d be dominant as a reliever even if he can remain healthy. His average fastball velocity dropped to a career-low 90.5 miles per hour this year and has gradually declined from his peak of 94.3 and 94.4 mph in 2004 and 2005.
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.