Pirates eyeing Rick Ankiel?

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According to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Pirates expect to be active in the free agent market, with potential targets including John Grabow, who they traded to the Cubs in July, and Cardinals outfielder Rick Ankiel.



This is a clear indicator that the
Pirates are beginning to shuffle their cards. Garrett Jones has
surprised with 19 home runs in 265 at-bats, however, he is 28 years
old, so there is little hope for further progression. Jones has played
69 games this season, but 20 of them have come at first base, so there
is a chance he could be used in more of a utility role in 2010, with
Jeff Clement getting his feet wet at first base and 20-year-old
top-prospect Jose Tabata potentially finding his way to the majors by
early June.




Ankiel is an interesting target who
may come on the cheap. Reason being, he is batting just .234/.286/.390
with 11 home runs and 37 RBI in 351 at-bats this season. With young
Colby Rasmus carving out an everyday role, the Cardinals have little
reason to bring him back. If Tabata proves himself to be a competent
corner outfielder — something that is still open to debate — the
Pirates could always trade Ankiel to a contender if he has a
bounceback season.

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.