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Oddly, Cubs owner has ‘growing confidence’ in Jim Hendry

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For those of you Cubs fans out there who would like to see general manager Jim Hendry (pictured) sent to work on a goat farm somewhere … I’m sorry but it’s not going to happen.

The “Cubs Convention” was this weekend, and a fan asked Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts “How does Jim Hendry still have a job?”

Ricketts’ answer, as per Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times:

‘‘Over the past year, I’ve had growing confidence in Jim, to be honest,’’ said Ricketts, who spent much of that year evaluating the organization top to bottom. ‘‘He has a good team of people he’s put together. I’m not going to hold [the losses in the playoffs] against him. What I am going to judge him by is how many players we’re consistently bringing up to the major leagues, and are the dollars we’re spending on the big-league team being spent well? .  .  . I think Jim’s doing a good job. I think we’re starting to see some of the fruits of his labor.’’

As far as judging Hendry on how many minor leaguers he’s developing and how much bang he’s getting for his buck, and I can only assume he means, “starting now.” Unless he’s the kind of owner who thinks 75 wins for $144 million is a bargain.

Ricketts was also asked how he let Cubs legend Ryne Sandberg leave the franchise. (Sandberg lost out to Mike Quade in a bid to replace manager Lou Piniella, then took a job managing the Phillies’ Triple-A club). Again, Ricketts was unapologetic, saying that media reports of the split were “misleading,” and that hiring Quade was the “right decision.”

You can read more of his comments here.

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Josh Johnson retires from baseball

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Josh Johnson #55 of the San Diego Padres poses during Picture Day on February 21, 2014 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
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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.

Report: Angels close to a multi-year deal with Luis Valbuena

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 08:  Luis Valbuena #18 of the Houston Astros hits a three run walkoff home run in the ninth inning to defeat the Oakland Athletics 10-9 at Minute Maid Park on July 8, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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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.