Today is the start of the annual general manager meetings in Chicago, which are not to be confused with the far more interesting, action-packed, and media-driven winter meetings that begin next month in Indianapolis.
Bruce Miles of the Arlington Heights Daily Herald has a preview of what the GMs will be up to for the next 72 hours:
With a nod toward the tough economy, baseball’s general managers will give up opulence and luxury for practicality when they convene for their annual meetings, beginning today at O’Hare.
Instead of resorts, golf games and lavish dinners, the GMs figure barely to see the sunshine as they hole up at the nation’s hub airport for a quick gathering that will end at about noon Wednesday. In addition to the regular business discussions and undoubtedly more talk of instant replay, the GMs figure to mix in a little trade talk.
Asked what he expects to happen at the GM meetings, Cardinals boss John Mozeliak said: “My expectation is that this will be much more about MLB business.” Perhaps, but things have gotten off to a very fast start this offseason and it would be surprising if there aren’t at least a couple big moves hammered out over the next few days.
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.
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.