When the Yankees fired pitching coach Dave Eiland this fall after their run in the American League Championship Series was put to a stop, general manager Brian Cashman called it his own decision. He said it was a “private” and “personal matter” that led to Eiland being let go and did not answer further questions. Now new details are trickling out.
Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York heard from a source this weekend that Eiland’s tarnished relationship with manager Joe Girardi, and not Cashman, is what likely spelled the end for the veteran Yankee coach.
Eiland felt that his “opinions were being deemphasized” when he returned from a month-long leave of absence in June, according to Marchand’s source, and frustration likely grew out of A.J. Burnett’s consistently poor showings in the second half of the 2010 season.
So what does this all mean? Not much, really. Eiland is already gone and the Yankees aren’t going to get into further details of why he was let go because they don’t have to. It does make one think that Girardi might have a little more say in organizational moves than previously thought. He soured on the guy, the guy was fired.
The Yankees have not yet settled on a replacement for Eiland. Former Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson is in the running, as is A’s former pitching coach Curt Young. Leo Mazzone’s name has been thrown around as well.
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.