Pedro still looking for work, Phillies may be interested

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Last month general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. announced that the Phillies had no interest in signing Pedro Martinez, but Todd Zolecki of MLB.com and Andy Martino of the Philadelphia Inquirer both report that the team will indeed watch the future Hall of Famer work out in the Dominican Republic this week.

Martino speculates that Amaro has changed his stance on Martinez after
failing to find a palatable trade solution for a veteran starter, while
Zolecki suggests that the Phillies are simply “covering their bases in
case Martinez has enough life left in his arm to help.”

Martinez has remained steadfast in his demand for a prorated $5
million contract, which while enough to scare teams off in April or May
would add up to a relatively modest $2.5 million investment at this
point in the season. In other words, showing any kind of decent stuff
in this week’s workout could lead to Martinez finally being signed.

However, his previous workout sessions apparently have not been
impressive, with various sources reporting that his fastball topped out
in the mid-80s. Martinez went 5-6 with a 5.61 ERA in 20 starts last
season while averaging 87.7 miles per hour with his fastball, but his
Expected Fielding Independent Pitching (xFIP) was 4.61 and shows that
he wasn’t as bad as the ugly ERA.

If healthy he’s certainly still capable of being a solid fourth or
fifth starter for a contending team, but the decision for the Phillies
revolves around whether dropping a few million bucks on a question mark
makes more sense than relying on young starters or giving up some
non-monetary assets in a trade for a less risky veteran.

Josh Johnson retires from baseball

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Josh Johnson #55 of the San Diego Padres poses during Picture Day on February 21, 2014 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
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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.

Report: Angels close to a multi-year deal with Luis Valbuena

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 08:  Luis Valbuena #18 of the Houston Astros hits a three run walkoff home run in the ninth inning to defeat the Oakland Athletics 10-9 at Minute Maid Park on July 8, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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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.