Maybe it wasn’t quite the no-brainer everyone figured it would be a couple of years ago, but the Mets exercised their $11 million option on Jose Reyes for 2011 on Thursday, retaining the shortstop for what will be his ninth season in Queens.
Reyes was healthy for the most part last season after missing most of 2009 with calf and hamstring injuries, but he hit a modest .282/.321/.428 in 133 games. The .749 OPS was well off his career bests of .841 as a 23-year-old in 2006 and .833 in 2008.
Most disturbing about Reyes’ season was his lack of plate discipline. In 2007, he had a fine 77/78 K/BB ratio in 681 at-bats. He walked 66 times in 2008, and in just 36 games in 2009, he drew 18 walks. However, he finished with only 31 walks last season, leaving him with easily his worst on-base percentage since 2005.
Still, there was just no way the Mets could have turned down the option. Reyes may never emerge as the superstar most envisioned him becoming, but even in a down year, he was still one of the league’s better shortstops. Just don’t expect the Mets to pursue a multiyear deal with him this winter. They’ll wait and see how he performs over the first couple of months of next season before they look to go down that road.
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.