One of Pete Rose’s old lackeys — Tommy Gioiosa — told the world many years ago that Rose corked his bats. Based on everything we knew about the guy at the time: that he was a risk-taker, a pathological competitor and a guy who viewed rules as something less than mild suggestions, it wasn’t hard to believe him.
But now there’s proof of it, in the form of one of Charlie Hustle’s bats from his 1985 chase of Ty Cobb, cork and all. It comes along with a story of the bat’s history over at Deadspin today that is some good readin’.
So: even if we get Rose un-banned, is everyone still comfortable with him making the Hall of Fame? Or does the old unlevel playing field argument apply only to steroids?
UPDATE: Here’s a lot more on Pete Rose and the corked bat, including my response to your comments about how corked bats aren’t supposed to help anybody.
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.