From SI.com’s Jon Heyman comes word that the Twins have reached agreement on a one-year, $865,000 contract with infielder Alexi Casilla, avoiding the need for an arbitration hearing.
The 26-year-old was eligible for salary arbitration for the first time this winter after racking up enough service time in 2010.
He sat idle for the first two months last year because of an elbow issue then hit .276/.331/.395 with one home run and 20 RBI in 152 at-bats once he regained his health.
Casilla has served mostly as a utility infielder for Minnesota since first breaking into the league back in 2006. With J.J. Hardy out of the picture, the Twins are going to ask him to start at shortstop in 2011. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, a new acquisition out of Japan, will start at second base.
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.