Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston heard from an insider source Saturday that the Red Sox will not give more than a four-year deal to right-handed starter Josh Beckett.
It’s not shocking news. The Red Sox dolled out a five-year, $82.5 million contract to John Lackey this offseason and a six-year, $52 million deal to Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2006. Boston GM Theo Epstein is smart enough to know that locking up multiple aging starting pitchers is a bad idea and will avoid that path with the soon-to-be 30-year-old Beckett. If Edes’ source is correct, it’s fair to wonder whether the right-hander will be moving on to another club once winter hits.
Beckett, who went 17-6 with a 3.86 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 199 strikeouts last year, is entering the final season of a three-year, $30 million extension. There are some concerns about the durability of his right shoulder.
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.