Jose Valverde might burn the Astros

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Offering arbitration is a gamble. Offer it to a guy you don’t want to keep in order to gain picks and you might just end up paying that guy anyway:

Free-agent reliever Jose Valverde could accept the Astros’ offer of
salary arbitration by Monday’s midnight ET deadline, according to
major-league sources.

The return of Valverde would eliminate the Astros’ need for a closer.

But it also could be a $10 million hit for a team with limited payroll flexibility.

A team in Houston’s position (i.e. still denying that they’re rebuilding but rebuilding all the same) doesn’t need a big money closer. Being forced to pay Valverde eight or even high seven figures would really hamper Houston.

But Valverde is no idiot. He knows how many closers and setup men are out there on the market right now. What is he, the fifth best option for some teams? Sixth? The open market could be a pretty scary place for a guy like him this winter.

We’ll know whether this comes to pass — or whether any other unexpected arb acceptances happen — by midnight tonight.  If you we see Ed Wade in the hotel bar with his head hanging low over a tall glass of Old Granddad, we’ll know what happened.

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.