No one seems to think the Brewers have any chance of keeping Prince Fielder beyond 2011, but Rickie Weeks is also one season away from becoming a free agent and told Adam McCalvy of MLB.com that he’s “open to listening” if the team wants to pursue a contract extension.
Weeks revealed that his agent has “had one phone call” about it with general manager Doug Melvin, adding: “I’ve said to Doug before, ‘I’m ready.’ So we’ll leave it at that and see where that takes us.”
Weeks has battled injuries throughout his career and tends to be overlooked somewhat even when healthy because his low batting averages mask otherwise strong production, but this season he played 160 games and led the league with 754 plate appearances while posting an .830 OPS that ranked fifth among all MLB second basemen behind Robinson Cano, Dan Uggla, Kelly Johnson, and Chase Utley.
Counting on Weeks to stay healthy going forward is a risk, as his career-high in games was 129 prior to this season, but he’s still just 28 years old and few middle infielders bring as much power and plate discipline to the table offensively.
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.