George King of the New York Post reports that the Rangers are going to make a five-year offer to Cliff Lee. The Yankees may have already made one, with some putting the dollars at around $23 million a year, so they’ll have to top that. Or at least come close to it if you believe the stuff about relative tax rates and advanced metrics like WAR (Wife Agitation Rate) and APF (Arkansas Proximity Factor).
I don’t have any special insight into the Rangers’ front office on this point, but some people I talk to who say they know a little about them are skeptical that Greenberg and Ryan will lay out that kind of cash. And given that they’re apparently interested in Zack Greinke and in doing things like moving Neftali Feliz to the rotation, they are certainly prepared to go on without Lee.
But at least now, with a second official bidder, things are about to get interesting.
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.