According to Dave van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune, the White Sox agreed to a two-year, $12 million contract extension on Sunday morning with left-handed reliever Matt Thornton. The deal also carries a club option for 2014.
The 34-year-old Thornton registered a strong 2.67 ERA and 1.01 WHIP across 60.2 innings for the Pale Hose last season, striking out 81 batters and walking only 20. He’s posted equally strong numbers for the past three years and has become one of the most reliable late-inning relievers in the game.
Thornton will get $5.5 million in 2012 and $5.5 million in 2013. He is making $3 million this season via a club option that was exercised in an easy decision for the Chicago front office at the end of October.
The White Sox are likely to ask him to close this season. If it’s not Thornton in the ninth, it’ll be youngster Chris Sale.
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.