According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the Rangers are set to sign left-hander Nate Robertson to a minor league contract. He will get an invite to spring training, where he’s expected to compete for a bullpen job.
Robertson, who averaged 31 starts with the Tigers from 2004-2008, hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2010 with the Phillies and Marlins. Now 35 years old, he posted an ugly 8.07 ERA and 20/8 K/BB ratio over 29 innings last season at the Triple-A level between the Cubs and Blue Jays. He also had a brief stint with the independent Wichita Wingnuts.
Robbie Ross may get a chance at a rotation spot if the Rangers don’t add another starter prior to spring training, so there could be an opening for a left-handed reliever. However, Robertson is a long shot candidate.
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.