Buster Olney names what he thinks fits that bill anyway. His list, in order: Red Sox, Yankees, White Sox, Angels, Cardinals. He has the Phillies at 5a.
Yes, I’m a fanboy, but shouldn’t the Braves crack the top five? Olney has them “in the conversation” and said he would have ranked them third if they hadn’t traded Javier Vazquez.
Call me crazy, but while Tim Hudson, Jair Jurrjens, Tommy Hanson, Derek Lowe and Kenshin Kawakami aren’t going to lift the Braves to the playoffs all by themselves, that’s a solid, solid group. Top five in my mind anyway. I don’t know, maybe Olney is docking them because Hudson is coming off an injury, but he’s not docking Peavy and the White Sox, so who knows?
If I had to guess I’d say that this is just the latest example of the near criminal over-rating of Javier Vazquez we’ve seen ever since the trade went down (I think it was meant to offset the criminal underrating he received during the season). Yes, the dude had an outstanding year — easily his best season — but would you be comfortable betting on him doing that well again? The Braves may not have gotten what they should have got for him, but that doesn’t change the fact that they were at least trying to sell high.
Oh well. Just throw it on the pile of things we can argue about until people start throwing pitches in anger.
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.