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Steve Johnson Rumors
These are the day’s notable minor moves:
- In announcing the team’s non-roster spring invites, the Marlins revealed a few new minor league signings. Among them are several right-handed relievers who could challenge for a pen spot. Vin Mazzaro, 28, had great results in 2013 for the Pirates but spent most of last year in Triple-A. 29-year-old Ryan Reid had a nice 11-inning run in 2013 but has otherwise spent much of his time in the upper minors. And Pat Misch, 33, will look to return to regular big league action. He last threw in the majors in 2011 and did not play in organized ball last year.
- The Orioles have agreed to terms with righty Steve Johnson on a minor league deal that includes a spring invite, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Johnson, 27, saw 54 innings with the O’s over 2012-13, with a strong first year followed by a rough sophomore effort. Last year saw Johnson scuffle at Triple-A, though a shoulder injury that required offseason surgery may well have been a primary culprit for those difficulties.
- The Brewers have struck a minor league deal with one-time star lefty Dontrelle Willis, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports on Twitter. Willis will receive an invite to big league camp, where he’ll attempt to earn a spot on an active roster for the first time since 2011. Once one of the game’s most exciting young arms, Willis faded quickly and has bounced around the league since a failed stint with the Tigers. Most recently, he has spent time in the Orioles, Angels, and Rangers systems, but has thrown most of his innings in independent ball.
1:37pm: Johnson will be a free agent, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets. Baltimore hopes to sign him to a minor league deal, however, while he continues to rehab his shoulder.
1:12pm: The Orioles have outrighted right-hander Steve Johnson, the club announced. With the move, Baltimore has opened a 40-man roster spot.
Johnson, 27, did not see any time at the MLB level this year after receiving brief stints in each of the last two seasons. In total, he owns a 3.67 ERA over 54 big league innings. Johnson struggled mightily this year at Triple-A, allowing 7.11 earned runs per nine over 13 starts (over which he lasted just 38 innings).
Control issues were the primary culprit, as Johnson issued more than seven free passes per nine innings after never coming close to that mark in prior years. Of course, underlying that may well have been the presence of a significant bone spur in his throwing shoulder, which was ultimately removed surgically.
Yesterday, the Associated Press reported MLB Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred testified, during the Alex Rodriguez arbitration hearing, baseball did not concern itself if Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch distributed illegal substances to minors and was only interested in possible criminal activity involving players. Today, Manfred called the report "ridiculous" telling Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel his testimony was "totally out of context and mischaracterized" and accused the A-Rod camp of leaking the story. "The larger point is this: From our perspective, one of the reasons we pursue cases like the A-Rod case is we think players should be role models for kids," Manfred explained to Haudricourt. "It's almost comical that A-Rod, who already has admitted in the past he used steroids, would express an opinion on our stance on children and PEDs." The hearing will resume next month. In other news and notes from the American League:
- Mike Napoli's strong postseason is further proof his avascular necrosis is not an issue as he enters free agency for the second time, reports MLB.com's Lindsay Berra. Napoli was frustrated by having to settle for a one-year, $5MM deal (incentives pushed the eventual value to $13MM) after a three-year, $39MM contract was scrapped because of the AVN diagnosis. "I waited seven years for free agency and then got an opportunity, and it got taken away because of something I didn't even know I had and had never had any pain from," said Napoli. "I'm a little more confident about negotiating a contract now that I've shown all year that my hips aren't an issue, but I'm sure I'm going to have to go through all the steps again, with all the MRIs and talking to doctors."
- There are six questions the Tigers must answer this offseason, writes MLive.com's Chris Iott. Among the answers, Iott predicts Jim Leyland will return as manager, the Tigers will not re-sign Jhonny Peralta (despite his desire to remain in Detroit), but will re-sign Joaquin Benoit and Omar Infante.
- The Orioles don't have a lot of inventory to deal this winter after trading away six players in midseason acquisitions, writes Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com. Zach Britton, Brian Matusz, and Steve Johnson head the list of tradeable players, according to Dubroff.
- Nolan Ryan left his imprint on the Rangers, especially the pitching staff, with his attitude and focus on conditioning, opines Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
- Ryan received a $10MM buyout (his ownership stake plus incentives) when he announced his retirement from the Rangers, Grant reports in separate article. However, according to Forbes, Ryan wound up losing money on his ownership investment. Ryan's original equity interest was valued at $13MM (6% ownership); but, dwindled to $7MM (1% ownership) because he declined to participate in various cash calls to cover his share of the losses the franchise incurred.
Carlos Zambrano hit and pitched the Marlins into a first place tie with the Nationals in the NL East. Zambrano hit a 431-foot home run, the longest by a pitcher in four years according to the ESPN Home Run Tracker, and struck out seven in 7 2/3 innings. Here are today's other pitcher-related links.
- The Red Sox may need to take a breather from the Daniel Bard experiment as a starter after his performance today, explains John Tomase of the Boston Herald. According to Baseball Reference, Bard became the first starting pitcher since 1918 to walk six and hit two batters in two or less innings of work.
- Roy Halladay's time on the disabled list could affect his $20MM vesting option for 2014 and make him a free agent one year earlier than expected, according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com.
- Jorge De La Rosa was pulled from his latest rehab assignment because of a small fluid build-up in his surgically repaired left elbow, says Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. The Rockies also placed right-hander Juan Nicasio on the DL with a strained left knee.
- The Orioles have added Steve Johnson to their 40-man roster after the right-hander sought to opt out of his contract, writes Steve Melewski of MASNSports.com.
Johnson, 22, was part of the trade that sent George Sherrill to the Dodgers last July, and posted a 3.41 ERA with a 9.5 K/9 and a 3.8 BB/9 in 145.1 innings split between the two organizations in 2009. Baseball America ranked Johnson as San Francisco's 20th best prospect coming into the season, saying he profiles best as a back-end starter or middle reliever.
The 15th pick in the Rule 5 Draft walked six batters and allowed five hits in 4.2 innings this spring.