Link-O-Rama: Seattle relievers no longer gladiators

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* This is easily the greatest sentence I’ve read this week: “Prior to Tuesday night’s series opener against the Royals, the Mariners were told by Major League Baseball officials that the gladiator helmets the relievers have been toting around with them could no longer be taken onto the field, or be in the bullpen during games.”
* For the second time this season all 300 pounds of Bartolo Colon have gone missing from the White Sox and the “have you seen this man?” photo from the Chicago Sun-Times story is guaranteed to haunt your dreams. Seriously, you’ve been warned.
* My favorite mainstream newspaper sports columnist is now my favorite Sports Illustrated staffer who occasionally writes for a newspaper. Or something. Joe Posnanski has taken a senior writer position at SI and writing for the Kansas City Star will no longer be his primary gig, although he apparently plans to continue writing for the newspaper occasionally. Whatever the case, it’s a huge addition for SI and a huge loss for the people of Kansas City. Posnanski is one of his generation’s elite baseball writers.
* Bill James is one of the greatest, best selling, and most influential baseball writers of all time, with a 30-year catalog of amazing work, yet it’s 2009 and a high-profile columnist for one of country’s largest newspapers calls him “the stat geek who has made a fortune taking credit for having invented on-base percentage.” I’m not even sure where to begin with the wrongheadedness of that description, so I won’t even try, but wow are there some cranky, uninformed old dudes writing about sports.

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.