Jorge Soler, a Cuban defector who rates as one of the Cubs’ best prospects, was involved in an incident Wednesday at Single-A Daytona in which he grabbed a bat from his dugout and started to go after the other team.
CSNChicago.com’s Patrick Mooney has all of the details that were available as of Wednesday night. The Cubs, for what it’s worth, are choosing to stay quiet until they have the full story.
Daytona and Clearwater, the Phillies’ Florida State League affiliate, were involved in a benches-clearing incident after Soler, who was on base, and infielder Carlos Alonso got tangled up at second base. Once the field cleared, Soler reportedly grabbed a bat from his dugout and started headed towards Clearwater’s dugout.
Bradley Emery, who was at the game, tweeted that Soler “was right in front of the dugout yelling and screaming god knows what” before coaches managed to drag him away.
Soler was, of course, ejected. One imagines he’ll be facing some sort of suspension from the Florida State League and maybe additional discipline from the Cubs.
After defecting, Soler got a nine-year, $30 million contract to sign with the Cubs last summer. The 21-year-old was off to a nice start for high-A Daytona, hitting .435 with two homers in 23 at-bats. In his pro debut last year, he hit .299/.369/.463 in 134 at-bats between Rookie and low-A ball.
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.