In addition to their reported interest in Mark Buehrle the Tigers “have been in contact with the agent for” Aramis Ramirez, according to Jason Beck of MLB.com.
Beck writes that “there are no negotiations going on” and the two sides haven’t talked since early this month, but adds that Thanksgiving may have played a part in the recent lack of dialogue.
Brandon Inge is still under contract for $5.5 million in 2012 with a $6 million option or $500,000 buyout in 2013, but the Tigers have already shown that they’re willing to bench the 34-year-old third baseman and Ramirez would be a massive upgrade offensively.
He’d also be a massive downgrade defensively, but with Inge coming off a .197 batting average and Ramirez producing an OPS above .850 for the seventh time in eight seasons Detroit would probably be willing to sacrifice glove for bat. Ramirez is 33 years old, but adding him to Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez would be a very scary middle of the order.
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.