Jack Wilson has seemingly been the cheap, light-hitting, veteran fallback plan for a handful of teams in the middle infield, but today he agreed to re-sign with the Braves after coming to Atlanta from Seattle in an August 31 trade.
Wilson gets a one-year, $1 million deal and Mark Bowman of MLB.com speculates that he’ll likely serve as the backup to Tyler Pastornicky, the 23-year-old shortstop prospect who’s in line to replace Alex Gonzalez as the Braves’ starter.
Pastornicky hit .314 in 117 games between Double-A and Triple-A last season, but his OPS was a modest .773 thanks to just seven homers and 32 walks. Of course, Wilson hit .243 with a .559 OPS last season, hasn’t cracked a .700 OPS since 2007, and is no longer a standout defender, so if Pastornicky isn’t the Opening Day shortstop it will have more to do with his development than Wilson’s presence.
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.