Joe Posnanski once wrote about how, roughly ten years ago, the Royals decided not to buy Negro Leagues replica uniforms for their Negro Leagues tribute day — like every other team that runs such a promotion — because they didn’t want to pay the $20K or whatever it would cost to do it. Lately that story has been used to illustrate the bad old days in Kansas City, after which a transition to “but now the Royals are running like a quality club” is made.
Old habits apparently die hard, however, because Sam Mellinger reports — and condemns in sharp prose — the Royals’ doing it again. No Negro Legaues uniforms on Negro Leagues promotion day. This despite the fact that Kansas City is the home of the Negro Leagues Museum and the Royals have probably the closest relationship with that organization of all baseball teams. Or at least should.
Is there an explanation for this that doesn’t involve parsimony? Mellinger doesn’t think so. And given that this isn’t the first time the Royals have done this, I think the burden of proof is on them to explain why they aren’t going with the Negro League throwbacks.
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.