I’m not going to say that outfield depth is an issue for the Tigers, because the move they made earlier this afternoon pretty much sums it up: they’ve sent Clete Thomas to the instructional league to get the rust off in the event they need to activate him as a result of another outfielder injury.
Thomas hasn’t played in the majors since 2009. He had microfracture surgery last year and spent 2011 at Toledo. And if Delmon Young — who, just a couple of days ago was thought to be a total no-go for the ALCS — has more issues with his oblique muscle, Thomas could be starting in a corner for a team with pretensions of going to the World Series.
I’m assuming all of this is because Larry Herndon hasn’t yet returned Dave Dombrowski’s phone call.
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.