According to Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said he has decided who to select with the No. 1 overall pick in next month’s First-Year Player Draft, but he isn’t ready to say who that person is.
“We’re not going to announce who it is right now, but we feel we’ve
narrowed it down to one specific person,” Rizzo said.
That specific person is almost certainly Bryce Harper. The 17-year-old phenom put up videogame-like numbers for the College of Southern Nevada during the NJCAA Western District Tournament this past weekend, going 12-for-13 — including four home runs and 10 RBI on Saturday night. As I detailed last Saturday morning, Harper also hit for the cycle on Friday. All in all, not a bad weekend.
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.