The Best: When I did this a couple of years ago I decided that the classic 70s and 80s uniforms were tops just because so much good baseball was played in them. I’ve changed my mind on this. While a team having its glory years in a given uniform is a plus in its column, it’s not enough to carry the day. Not that the design is bad. Actually, just before the peak of the Big Red Machine, the Reds wore that same basic design in a button down. Small difference, sure, but taking it out of the realm of the pullover makes all the difference, so I’d give those the edge. The current uniforms look a lot like that, but I’d take away the red piping along the buttons and some of the fancy font work to give it that clean look that the early 70s models had.
Worst: 1936 was something of a disaster, as were the vests, though the Reds probably did that look better than any other team that did it (vests are always a negative). There should be a special place reserved in uniform hell for a team with a color in its very name that forgets to use that color prominently, and to the exclusion of all other non-white and non-gray options. Such as when the Reds experimented with black and blue.
Assessment: The Reds have always looked sharp. Cincinnati is a conservative town. Keep it neat and professional like they usually do, and everything will be just fine.
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.