Righty Josh Lindblom was drafted in the third round by the Astros back in 2005. Instead of signing, he went to the University of Tennessee, and then after a year transferred to Purdue. Lindblom was able to boost his draft stock during his time there, becoming the Boilermakers’ closer, and was chosen in the second round by the Dodgers in 2008.
Lindblom was quickly considered one of the Dodgers’ top prospects, and seemed on the fast track to the Majors. He nearly made the team out of camp in spring training ’09, and saw phrases like “future closer” tossed around by Baseball America.
Lindblom reached the Majors in June of 2011 and ended up making 27 relief appearances with a 2.73 ERA that year for the Dodgers. At the 2012 trade deadline, Lindblom was in the middle of a solid season when the Dodgers traded him and others to the Phillies for Shane Victorino. After the season, the Phillies shipped Lindblom to the Rangers in a deal for Michael Young.
With the Rangers, Lindblom moved back to a starting role and made his first big league start against the A’s. However, in December 2013, Lindblom was traded again, this time to the A’s. He spent most of 2014 at Triple-A without much success, and was designated for assignment after the season. The Pirates claimed him off waivers, but soon after he was released to sign with the Lotte Giants of the Korea Baseball Organization.
Lindblom made 62 starts from 2015-16 in KBO, and then signed a minor league deal to return to the Pirates after the ’16 season. He made four big league relief outings for the ’17 Pirates, marking a gap of more than three years between appearances in the Majors.
Having been cut by the Pirates in the summer of 2017, Lindblom returned to KBO to join the Doosan Bears for the 2018-19 seasons. This time around he dominated, pitching to a 2.68 ERA over 363 1/3 innings. He won the top KBO pitching award in both of those seasons. With KBO success, excellent spin rates, and a new approach to pitching, Lindblom was a hot commodity in free agency that winter, nabbing the #42 spot on MLBTR’s top 50 free agents list. He landed a three-year, $9.125MM contract with the Brewers.
Lindblom’s Brewers debut happened to be the shortened COVID season, though he was still able to make ten starts for the club. He began the following season in Milwaukee’s bullpen, but wound up spending 2021 and ’22 at Triple-A. In January of this year, Josh announced his retirement. He thanked those who helped him throughout his career, noting, “Most of us don’t get to choose when we finish.” Lindblom tallied 209 innings in the Majors with six different teams, striking out 200 batters. He was particularly tough on Paul Goldschmidt, punching him out six times in 12 plate appearances.
You can follow Josh on Twitter @JoshLindblom52. Recently, Josh joined the Brewers’ player development staff.
I reached out to Josh to see if he’d be up for chatting with MLBTR readers, and he spent an hour fielding questions on his fondest MLB memories, the differences between MLB and the KBO, the experience of making the transition between those two leagues, and his new role with the Brewers’ player development staff. Click here to read a transcript of today’s chat.