Mets owner Fred Wilpon spoke with the media during the first day of workouts for pitchers and catchers, calling the recent offseason “torture.” I’m sure a lot of this emotion had to do with the strife surrounding the dispute with Carlos Beltran, but he also sympathizes with fans who are understandably frustrated that the team failed to land a single starting pitcher:
“I understand from the fan’s point of view because I am one myself and
I’m very, very sensitive to what their feelings are and I understand
some of it,” Wilpon said. “I think that we have to be guided by our
baseball people and our baseball people evaluated for example some of
our pitchers as good or better than what was on the market, our
baseball (people) evaluated other positions and we went by what they did. Jeff
followed them. Jeff and I don’t pick the baseball players. So that’s
what they wanted to do. They think that the guys we have will prove to
be better guys than some of the guys we would have gotten.”
Of course, a recent piece by Ken Rosenthal begs to differ. Wilpon also insisted that Bernie Madoff did not have any impact on the team’s operations (never mind that the team’s payroll actually went down this winter) and that he intends to keep the franchise under family control “for generations.” Does that kill anyone else’s buzz?
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.