“I’m on pace for 100 RBIs, 20 home runs and 40 doubles. I think I’ll take that. If the critics don’t like that, I don’t really care … I’ve always said if you play six months, you’re going to have one bad month …”
— Jeff Francoeur, announcing that he intends to break established patterns and limit his bad months to one this season.
Yes, that was cheap. It’s just how I roll. But my Francoeur fixation aside, I like that he doesn’t give a rat’s patootie what people like me say about him. As I said back in spring training, it’s pretty impossible to have ire for the guy on a personal level. It’s really the people who try to pump him up as something he isn’t that get on my nerves.
And as crazy as it sounds coming from me, I want him to have a good second half. The “Jeff Francoeur: superstar!” stuff is annoying, but I’d like to see the “Jeff Francoeur: competent enough right fielder to hang around the league for many years on Reggie Sanders-style short-term, low money deals” dynamic take root.
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.