38-year-old Ramon Ortiz to step into Cubs rotation

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While Russ Ortiz is content in retirement, Ramon is still kicking around, and he’ll get a chance to step into the Cubs rotation in place of the injured Carlos Zambrano next week, the team announced today.

Ortiz made two starts and 14 relief appearances for the Dodgers last year, amassing a 6.30 ERA.  Prior to that, he hadn’t pitched in the majors since 2007.  He spent 2008 struggling in Japan.

Now 38, Ortiz is 6-3 with a 4.44 ERA and a 79/20 K/BB ratio in 95 1/3 innings as a member of Triple-A Iowa’s rotation this season.  The Cubs decided to give him a try rather than go back to youngster Casey Coleman.

Not that he should really care at all, but Ortiz could do more damage to his career numbers by continuing his comeback attempts.  As is, he’s still three games over .500 in his career at 85-82.  Plus, his ERA stands at 4.93.  If he struggles, he could join James Baldwin, Sidney Ponson, Glendon Rusch and Jose Lima as the only pitchers in major league history to throw at least 1,300 innings and post ERAs over 5.00.

Padres sign Jordan Lyles

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The Padres announced on Sunday that the club signed pitcher Jordan Lyles to a one-year major league contract with a club option for 2019. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Lyles will earn $750,000 in 2018. Pitcher Travis Wood was designated for assignment to create room on the 40-man roster for Lyles.

Lyles, 27, had miserable results between the Rockies and Padres last season, compiling an aggregate 7.75 ERA with a 55/22 K/BB ratio over 69 2/3 innings. While he specifically gave up 24 earned runs in 23 innings across five starts with the Padres, it was a small sample. A full season at the pitcher-friendly Petco Park, as opposed to Colorado’s Coors Field, might help revitalize his career.

Wood, 30, went to the Padres at the non-waiver trade deadline from the Royals this past season. Overall, the lefty posted an aggregate 6.80 ERA with a 65/45 K/BB ratio in 94 innings. He’ll earn $6.5 million this season and has an $8 million mutual option with a $1 million buyout for 2019. So, the Padres are just eating $7.5 million minus the league minimum, assuming Wood latches on elsewhere.