Ian Stewart and the Rockies have avoided arbitration with a one-year, $2.23 million deal that nearly splits the difference between the $2.6 million figure he submitted and the team’s $2.15 million counter.
It’s actually about $140,000 short of the exact midway point, but Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that Stewart can earn an additional $72,500 in incentives based on playing time.
Colorado has signed Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez to massive long-term deals this offseason, but it’s no surprise that they’re choosing to go year-to-year with Stewart. He’s yet to build on a strong rookie campaign in 2007, posting an OPS below .800 in each of the past two seasons, and has hit just .239 away from Coors Field.
He’s under the Rockies’ control for two more seasons as an arbitration eligible player, but 2011 could be a make-or-break year for Stewart in Colorado.
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.