Link-O-Rama: Oh, Dayton!

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* Dayton Moore’s latest explanation
for acquiring Yuniesky Betancourt: “We have people who believe Yuniesky
Betancourt is going to continue to get better through a change of
scenery. When our top advisors, people I consider the very best
evaluators in the game, advise me that, ‘If you can get this guy, you
get him,’ that’s exactly what we did.”

I’ll surely revisit the trade and Moore’s various quotes
at the end of the season, when Betancourt has had the opportunity to be
a horrible player for another few months, but in the meantime what are
the odds that the Royals have “the very best evaluators in the game”?
And are they the same guys who thought trading for Tony Pena Jr. and
handing him a starting job was a good idea?

* Fausto Carmona has responded well to being sent down to the minors last month. He took a shutout into the seventh inning
last night at Triple-A and is now 3-1 with a 2.51 ERA in five starts
since the demotion. Perhaps most importantly he’s handed out just four
walks in 32.1 innings after walking 41 batters in 60.2 frames with the
Indians.

* Ian Snell has also thrived following his self-imposed demotion to Triple-A. He allowed just one unearned run in 6.1 innings last night, giving him a spectacular 0.34 ERA and 34/8 K/BB ratio in 26.1 innings at Indianapolis.

* T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports
that the Rangers “have officially entered themselves in the Roy
Halladay sweepstakes.” While that just makes them one of many teams
interested in the Blue Jays’ ace, the Rangers’ superior stable of
prospects could make them the front-runners for Halladay if they decide
to take the plunge.

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.