While there’s some thought out there that they’ve soured on a potential Carlos Beltran deal, the Phillies have been the most aggressive suitors for Houston’s Hunter Pence, FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reports.
Rosenthal also tweets that the Red Sox have inquired about Pence, but that they’ve had a tough time finding a match with the Astros, and that the Braves aren’t currently involved in the chase.
The Astros will want an awful lot for Pence, but the Phillies have exactly the type of player Houston should desire in return in Domonic Brown. The Phillies won’t part with Brown for two months of Carlos Beltran, but two years and two months of Pence could be a different story. Pence will get expensive in arbitration, but he’s not going to be a free agent until after the 2013 season.
Pence has hit .308/.356/.470 with 11 homers and 62 RBI this season. With his name involved in trade rumors, he has struggled since the All-Star break, going 6-for-36 in 10 games.
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.