I’m torn: on the one hand I would love Major League Baseball to ban the use of smokeless tobacco by players. On the other hand, there aren’t many things I hate more than when Congress decides to stick its nose in baseball’s business:
Two Democratic senators are asking baseball commissioner Bud Selig to ban all tobacco use in the sport, specifically citing smokeless products. Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey are suggesting that Selig push for a ban as part of the negotiations in the players’ collective bargaining agreement later this year.
They sent letters to Bud Selig and Michael Weiner to that effect. They said that they were inspired by the same Washington Post article we all read a couple of weeks ago in which Stephen Strasburg said that Tony Gwynn’s battle with cancer inspired him to try to quit dipping. You know, the cancer Gwynn had that was almost certainly not caused by smokeless tobacco.
Between Congress’ involvement and that Gwynn misinformation, all of this is is going to lead me into a deep “is it OK to do the right thing for the wrong reasons?” think-hole that will render me unproductive for the rest of the day.
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.