Ramon Ortiz

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.

Report: Brewers to sign Joba Chamberlain

BOSTON, MA - MAY 21:  Joba Chamberlain #62 of the Cleveland Indians reacts after giving up a grand slam to Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox in the seventh inning during the game at Fenway Park on May 21, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
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According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, free agent reliever Joba Chamberlain has a deal with the Brewers. No confirmation or terms of the contract have been confirmed by the team yet.

Chamberlain, 31, had a promising resurgence in the Indians’ bullpen during 2016. He shaved his ERA down to a modest 2.25 mark over 20 innings with Cleveland, paired with an 8.1 SO/9 and less-than-stellar 5.0 BB/9 rate. Over a decade in the major leagues, the right-hander holds a career 3.81 ERA, 8.8 SO/9 and 3.7 BB/9 rate.

The veteran righty was released by the Indians in July after refusing re-assignment. He’s expected to compete for a major league role this spring.

Athletics sign Santiago Casilla to two-year, $11 million deal

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 10: Santiago Casilla #46 of the San Francisco Giants throws a pitch during the 9th inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on August 10, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
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After letting rumors of the deal percolate for the last week, the Athletics officially announced their two-year, $11 million contract with right-hander Santiago Casilla on Friday (and threw a little bit of shade at the Giants, too). As previously reported, the contract includes an extra $3 million in performance bonuses.

Casilla, 36, got his major league start with Oakland back in 2004, racking up a 5.11 ERA and four saves over six seasons in the A’s bullpen. After picking up a minor league deal with the Giants in 2010, the righty flitted in and out of the closing role with varying degrees of success. Notwithstanding a slight downturn in his production rate during the 2016 season, he earned 123 saves and a 2.42 ERA during the past seven years in San Francisco. Securing another closing role might be a little tougher across the Bay, however, with a bullpen that includes fellow closers Ryan Madson, Ryan Dull and Sean Doolittle.