Sources have informed Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that the Giants are still on the hunt for a catcher and have shown interest recently in the Rangers’ Yorvit Torrealba.
San Francisco’s hunt for a new backstop began in late May, shortly after Buster Posey broke his leg in a collision at home plate with Marlins outfielder Scott Cousins. The search has not been fruitful to this point, but the Giants seem to have found new motivation with Eli Whiteside (elbow, quad) banged up and Chris Stewart batting .156 with a .417 OPS.
Torrealba has never been a great offensive player, but he’s easily a better hitter than Whiteside and Stewart, and he could bring some stability to the position for the Giants. The Rangers may be open to offers once Mike Napoli (oblique) returns from the disabled list. Giants setup man Guillermo Mota is said to be available, and Texas could use the bullpen help.
One possible hangup: Torrealba is owed $3.25 million next season and Posey is expected to be fully recovered by the start of spring training. There’s a chance that the Giants will balk at that math. Then again, they could use Torrealba as a highly active backup in 2011 and give starts at first base to Posey with the idea of keeping his knees healthier. That might justify the $3.25 million salary.
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.