As expected, the Dodgers have officially released Marcus Thames after designating him for assignment last week to make room on the roster for Juan Rivera.
Thames was already a very limited player even when healthy and a strained calf kept him from being able to consistently play left field for the Dodgers, which along with struggles at the plate made him next to useless.
However, if he can get over the calf issues Thames could still potentially bring some value to a contending team as a part-time outfielder or designated hitter. He strikes out a ton, can’t hit right-handed pitching, and doesn’t catch much in left field, but Thames has a .496 slugging percentage and 46 homers in 786 career at-bats versus left-handed pitching.
For the cost of a minor-league deal it’d be worth it for several teams to see if he can get healthy and hit his way back to the majors in a platoon role.
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.