The Oakland A’s pulled off one of the shockers of the offseason when they signed free agent pitcher Ben Sheets to a one-year, $10 million deal. While many thought the A’s overpaid for the talented (yet oft-injured) pitcher who missed all of 2009, there were also some good feelings that a small-market club could outbid its richer competitors for a notable talent.
After today, those good feelings flew right out the window, as Sheets allowed 10 runs without getting an out in a 13-5 loss to the Reds. Sheets allowed eight hits and a walk, and also committed an error. “It was a bad one,” Sheets understated.
The “good” news is Sheets said he felt good, and that an earlier spring start in which he allowed six runs against the White Sox was, in his mind, actually worse.
A’s manager Bob Geren maintained a positive attitude after the game. And why wouldn’t he? After all, it’s not his $10 million.
“He definitely threw the ball better this time,” Geren said. “The results weren’t there. It’s the best he’s thrown since he’s been here. I’ll stay encouraged that way. This guy’s an All-Star. He didn’t like his performance. I’m not worried about his ego.”
Geren also said that he thinks Britney Spears’ music is getting better with every album, and that he’s encouraged by the signs he sees in California’s economy.
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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.
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.