General manager Sandy Alderson just announced that 23-year-old pitching prospect Rafael Montero is on his way to New York to join the Mets’ rotation for the Subway Series against the Yankees.
He’s scheduled to start Wednesday versus Masahiro Tanaka at Citi Field after posting a 3.67 ERA and 41/18 K/BB ratio in 42 innings at Triple-A. While not considered quite an elite prospect because he lacks overpowering raw stuff, Montero was excellent between Double-A and Triple-A last season with a 2.78 ERA and 150/35 K/BB ratio in 155 innings at age 22 and projects as a potential mid-rotation starter long term.
And in a corresponding move the Mets have decided to shift Jenrry Mejia from the rotation to the bullpen after giving the 24-year-old right-hander a grand total of 18 starts spread over parts of four different seasons to “prove” himself as a starter.
Mejia has a 4.75 ERA in those starts, compared to a 3.23 ERA in 32 career relief appearances, so perhaps he’s better off in the bullpen, but it would have been nice to see him get a little more of an extended opportunity before the shift to a 70-inning role was made at such a young age.
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.