Trade rumors continued to swirl around Matt Garza despite the Cubs right-hander leaving his July 21 start with a triceps injury, but now he can be crossed off the list of pitchers potentially on the move before July 31.
Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago reports that an MRI exam showed fluid in Garza’s triceps, which means he’ll be shut down until after Tuesday’s deadline has passed.
Garza technically could still be traded even while hurting, but obviously it would be tough for the Cubs to get anything close to full value for a pitcher with a big health question mark. And because they have him under team control for 2013 via arbitration they could start shopping him again this offseason.
Another possibility is dealing Garza during August, but because numerous contenders would surely place waiver claims on him the Cubs would be limited to negotiating with whichever team put in a claim with the highest priority. That would kill their leverage then, just as the triceps injury has killed their leverage now.
Several reports have suggested that the Dodgers preferred Garza to rotation-mate Ryan Dempster, so while the injury is bad news for the Cubs it could actually make it easier to get a strong return for Dempster.
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.