You wouldn’t think that a couple of coaches being fired in Pittsburgh would make that big a fuss, but Joe Kerrigan and Gary Varsho’s firings have tongues wagging all over the Pittsburgh sports blogosphere.
The Baseball Codes blog does some historical digging, and via the mining of some past reporting on Kerrigan — specifically, in Joe Torre’s memoir and some reporting by Tracy Ringolsby — notes that he has a reputation for being a “clubhouse mole,” who reports things behind the manager’s back and back up to the front office on a regular basis.
InsidePittsburghSports.com went further in its Sunday night report:
“One veteran front-office executive said this of Kerrigan upon his
hiring by the Pirates, ‘John Russell better have his head on a swivel
because he has a manager killer on his staff now. Joe Kerrigan might be
the biggest backstabber in baseball.'”
So much drama in the PNC, it was gettin’ hard being manager Jim Tra-cy.
Well, it’s John Russell, but that doesn’t work with the rhyme. And really, does it matter at this point in the season?
(thanks to reader Bill S. for the heads up)
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.