Mike Scioscia more or less confirmed what folks who think a lot about baseball had been hoping for: Brandon Wood will break Angels’ camp as the starting third baseman. There had been concerns that the three-year, $10-million deal the club gave to Maicer Izturis this winter would serve to block Wood. Again. Scioscia says, however, that he’s “looking for [Wood] to get the first opportunity there, with Izzy helping
out with the versatility he brings to play second, third and shortstop.”
Wood hasn’t been
consistent in his multiple cups of coffee over the past three years, but he has simply raked
down on the farm. He has power. He has nothing left to prove at AAA. The Angels need to play him now or lose him forever. I’m high on him, so I’m happy to see that he’s getting a shot at regular playing time. The only question now is, if Wood struggles early, how short a leash Scioscia will have with him.
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.