Just about everyone in Detroit seems thrilled about the Prince Fielder signing despite plenty of room for concerns about his massive $214 million contract and how his arrival impacts the Tigers’ defense.
One person who definitely isn’t happy? Brandon Inge, who was slated to start at third base until Fielder’s presence pushed Miguel Cabrera across the diamond and sent Inge to the bench.
During the introductory press conference for Fielder yesterday manager Jim Leyland said he regretted Inge not finding out about the signing until after it happened and described him as “not the happiest camper.”
General manager Dave Dombrowski had similar thoughts, saying: “I can understand he wouldn’t be thrilled, but I also think at this point, probably the best thing for him to do–he’s not coming off a big year, the market is pretty well set–probably the best thing is to let him come to spring training, let him play well and let’s see what happens.”
In other words, Inge hit .197 last season, got demoted to Triple-A at one point, is 34 years old, and will make $5.5 million in 2012, so the happiness of that one particular camper shouldn’t really be a big factor for the Tigers right now. Detroit would gladly shed his salary if another team wanted Inge, but odds are that isn’t happening.
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.