The Pirates haven’t had a great week, public relations-wise. First there was that whole mess with whether or not John Russell was going to be fired or whether he got an extension or whatever. Then they went and fired their racing pierogi for insubordination and caught all kinds of hell for it.
It’s always hard for an organization to admit when it erred, but the Pirates have done that, and have now re-hired the pierogi. Of course the Pirates say that the bad publicity over l’affaire pierogi had nothing to do with it. Rather, it was because “he had not been dismissed in accordance with company procedures.”
In other news, (a) the Pirates have company procedures that govern the employment conditions for guys who dress up in pierogi suits and run around the ballpark; and (b) Pirates employees should now feel a lot more comfortable about ripping their employers in the Internet.
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.