Signing Lackey doesn't mean the Sox won't extend Beckett

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There has been speculation that the Red Sox’ signing of John Lackey was just as much about providing a hedge against the departure of Josh Beckett after next season as it was about winning next season. That’s not so according to Theo Epstein, who said this at the John Lackey press conference:

“I sent Josh a text message as we were finalizing John Lackey’s deal. I just told him, ‘Some might speculate this might mean
the end for you in Boston.’ I said ‘Don’t listen to them. You’re a huge
part of what we have going on here. We love it if it worked out if
you’re a huge part of our future, as well. The most important thing is
that we have one heck of a pitching staff right now.’ He texted back.
He was very excited about the sign[ing] . . . I don’t think it impacts Josh nearly to the degree
people are speculating.”

It’s cute that Theo thinks he’s sending text messages when he’s really sending emails on his Blackberry. I mean, really, does anyone send a text message as long as that?

OK, that aside, the Lackey signing doesn’t seem to be going down perfectly with
everyone in Red Sox Nation, but he will be much easier to take as an addition to Beckett in the rotation than he would as a replacement. Obviously things could change — Beckett could blow his elbow out next year or demand $20 million a pop — but if Theo is open to the idea of keeping Beckett, Sox fans will be much happier.

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.