Apparently Mets GM Sandy Alderson was serious when he put second baseman Luis Castillo and left-hander Oliver Perez on notice in mid-December, saying “if they don’t earn their way on the team, they won’t be on the team.”
Buster Olney of ESPN.com wrote today in his Sunday notes column that the Mets have tried to trade Castillo all winter long and are now internally discussing the possibility of releasing him because no suitors have come forward. Perez might also get the boot if he shows no signs of progress during spring training.
Castillo, 35, batted just .235 with a .337 on-base percentage and a putrid .267 slugging percentage in 299 plate appearances last season. He did not homer and he collected just 17 RBI.
The Mets owe him $6 million this season in the final chapter of a four-year, $25 million agreement that was signed in mid-November of 2007. They would obviously rather move at least part of that salary to another team via trade, but no major league club is going to be interested in adding an aging and unproductive middle infielder, however cheap. Cutting ties, eating his salary and then moving on may be the best course of action.
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.