Brian Matusz had the shortest start of his miserable season yesterday, recording just four outs while allowing five runs against the Yankees.
He threw 176 innings with a 4.30 ERA as a 23-year-old rookie last season, but instead of establishing himself atop the Orioles’ rotation Matusz is 1-7 with a 9.84 ERA in 10 starts and spent much of the season in the minors.
President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail indicated that yesterday was probably Matusz’s final start of the season, admitting to Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com that “I don’t know that he’s doing us any good or we’re doing him any good” by remaining in the rotation to take a beating every five days.
Buck Showalter wouldn’t commit to Matusz’s status either way, but the left-hander has coughed up 48 runs in 43 innings while allowing opponents to hit .364 with a .679 slugging percentage. To put that in some context, consider that Jose Bautista is hitting .306 with a .632 slugging percentage.
As part of his overall struggles Matusz is in historic territory when it comes to serving up homers. He’s surrendered 15 long balls in 43 innings for a rate of 3.1 homers per nine innings, which is the highest homer rate in baseball history among all pitchers with at least 10 starts. If he were to somehow throw 200 innings at that rate it would equal 70 homers.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have inked outfielder Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Young, 31, played in just six games and logged one plate appearance in the majors this past season with the Yankees. He last played regularly in 2014. While Young doesn’t do much with the bat, he could provide value as a pinch-runner. He also offers versatility, having played all three outfield positions along with second base.
The Angels have Ben Revere as their fourth outfielder and Jefry Marte behind him, so Young would need to have a very impressive showing in spring training to find a spot on the Angels’ roster.
Update (5:20 PM EST): It’s a minor league contract, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. If he makes the major league roster, Saltalamacchia will earn $1.25 million with an additional $250,000 available through incentives.
The Blue Jays are close to a deal with free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet is reporting.
Saltalamacchia, 31, hit a meager .171/.284/.346 with 12 home runs and 38 RBI in 292 plate appearances with the Tigers this past season. With Russell Martin getting regular playing time behind the plate, Saltalamacchia will serve as his understudy, pushing A.J. Jimenez and Juan Graterol down on the depth chart.
The veteran catcher isn’t far removed from being a productive backstop. He had an .805 OPS in 70 games with the Diamondbacks in 2015 and also helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 with an .804 OPS in 121 games.