Gerry Fraley points out something I can’t believe I missed: Major League Baseball has split up crew chief Joe West and over-zealous cohort Angel Hernandez to start the second half.
Hernandez has been moved on to Gerry Davis’ crew and switched spots with Sam Holbrook.
West’s crew had become notorious for hot-headedness this season. In the eight days leading up to the All-Star break alone, they had issued six ejections. Overall, they had ejected 17 players and managers despite already having a week-long break in June. That’s five more ejections than any other crew had issued.
Hernandez is typically voted baseball’s worst ump whenever those kinds of polls come along, and while West’s reputation isn’t so bad, he has a long history of bumping chins given any provocation at all. Hopefully, both will be a little calmer apart than they were together.
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.