From Nick Cafardo’s Sunday notes column in the Boston Globe:
Mark Prior, RHP, free agent – He will likely attempt one more comeback. He spent some of last season with the Yankees, his rebuilt arm holding up well and getting his velocity into the low 90s. But Prior, who was the Stephen Strasburg of his day, has a new problem. After many weeks of trying to figure out what was wrong with the lower half of his body, he had surgery for a sports hernia, but the problem wasn’t completely corrected. He is working out near his home in San Diego, trying to figure it out. He will likely work out for teams as early as March.
Prior, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2001 MLB Amateur Draft, registered a promising 2.25 ERA, 0.75 WHIP and 15/4 K/BB ratio across 12 minor league innings last year. He hasn’t appeared in a major league game since the 2006 season, but he could score a spring training invitation if he’s healthy and throwing well before spring training concludes.
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.