Andrew Baggarly wonders if and when Barry Bonds will return to the Giants’ fold and impart some of his hitting knowledge:
Like McGwire, Bonds’ public
image as a steroid cheat probably is beyond rehabilitation. But many
players past and present continue to hold Bonds’ hitting intelligence,
vision and discipline in the highest esteem. They marvel at his ability
to entrap a pitcher and barrel up the slightest mistake. They rank his
hitting acumen in the highest tier with men like Ted Williams and Tony
Bonds might be a hitting Einstein to McGwire’s fifth-grade science teacher.
Yeah, but at least my fifth grade science teacher was able to explain photosynthesis and the Doppler effect and stuff to me in basic terms. After struggling to think of how to dumb-down his copious brilliance to my level for an hour, Einstein would probably retreat to the teacher’s lounge for a smoke.
But based on what we’ve heard about him, Einstein would be a better communicator than Bonds, even if he spoke in his native German. And really, how do you teach Bonds’ batting eye, which was his greatest gift as a hitter? “Schierholtz! Do it again, and this time recognize it as a ball! I could tell that from over here!”
Bonds may be the greatest hitter of my lifetime, but not everyone can teach, and in this capacity I get the sense that Bonds is not everyoner than most people.
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.