Making official what was reported as “close” last week, the Reds have signed Cuban right-hander Rasiel Iglesias to a seven-year, $30 million contract.
Iglesias is 24 years old with a fastball that tops out in the mid-90s and posted a 1.68 ERA with 50 strikeouts in 54 innings in Cuba last season. He has starting experience, but the Reds are expected to make him a full-time reliever and he should move quickly through the farm system on the way to likely joining Cincinnati bullpen as a setup man for countryman Aroldis Chapman.
Iglesias’ contract does not count against the international signing bonus limits because he’s older than 23 and has significant experience in Cuba, so the Reds were able to break the bank. And it’s an MLB contract, so he goes directly onto the 40-man roster.
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.