Adam Morris of Lonestarball just tweeted something that made my mind reel for a few seconds:
No starting pitcher who debuted in the majors after 1967 has been elected to the Hall of Fame.
Nolan Ryan’s first game was in 1966. Since then the only arguable exception is Dennis Eckersley, but he obviously wasn’t inducted on the strength of his starting pitching.
This speaks mostly to a period of good-but-not-great pitchers who came up after the Tom Seaver/Phil Niekro/Nolan Ryan/Don Sutton crowd. Guys like Jack Morris. Dave Stieb. Dennis Martinez. An untold number of guys who were drafted and began their development in the early 70s environment in which 275 innings was the expectation, not grounds for a union grievance. How many Hall of Fame arms were blown up during that time?
Whatever the cause, it will end soon. Bert Blyleven should be in by now and we shouldn’t even be talking about this, but he may very well make it next year. We’re a couple years away from Maddux, Glavine, Randy Johnson and the giant clusterf— that will be Roger Clemens’ eligibility period.
Between Ryan and those guys, though: no one, and that’s interesting if for no other reason than it made me think of why it was the case in the first place.
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.