Angels sign Ian Stewart to a minor league deal

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Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register is reporting that the Angels have signed infielder Ian Stewart to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. Stewart has had a rough go of it on the field over the last few years, but found himself in hot water last June when he went on Twitter and complained about how the Cubs were using him.

Stewart posted a .464 OPS in 136 plate appearances with the Rockies in 2011. He also missed time with a wrist injury and moved back and forth between the Majors and Triple-A Colorado Springs a couple times. After the season, the Cubs signed him as a free agent, but Stewart posted a meager .627 OPS in 202 plate appearances. In June, he suffered a wrist injury and went under the knife in July, ending his season.

Last season, Stewart strained his quadriceps early in spring training and missed the start of the season with Triple-A Iowa. He posted just a .657 OPS at Triple-A with the Cubs. They released Stewart in early July after he went public with his criticism. The Dodgers picked him up, but the results weren’t any better. With Triple-A Albuquerque, Stewart posted a .638 OPS.

While Stewart has spent a majority of his career at third base, he has experience playing second base and he can play either outfield corner or first base in a pinch. On a no-risk deal, it’s difficult to see the downside for the Angels, even with Stewart’s questionable history in terms of health, production, and behavior.

Koji Uehara has retired

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Jim Allen of Kyodo News reports that Koji Uehara has retired from baseball.

Uehara, 44, has spent the past two seasons with the Yomiuri Giants, which is the where he began his career way back in 1998. He spent eight years there as a starter, winning 20 games in his rookie season, then one year as a closer and one year in swingman duties before coming to the United States.

Once in the majors he pitched for four different major league teams over nine seasons — the Orioles, Rangers, Red Sox and Cubs — from 2009-2017. In that time he posted an excellent 2.66 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, and 572/78 K/BB ratio in 480.2 innings and notched 95 saves. He won a World Series ring with the Red Sox in 2013 and was an All-Star in 2014. Uehara’s last big league stint in America with the Cubs in 2017, for whom he posted a 3.98 ERA (111 ERA+) in 49 games.

Happy trails to an excellent reliever.