Chris Jaffe at The Hardball Times makes the best lists. No, they may not get the kind of traffic that lists like “the 101 hottest wives and girlfriends of relief pitchers” get, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worthy.
Today’s list: the ten worst career-ending performances of all time. Specifically, the worst final games of guys who were otherwise awesome. No, the list doesn’t purport to make some grand assessment — the fact that Yogi Berra struck out three times in a game in the mid-60s means nothing for him as a player — but it is worth noting that not every Hall of Famer ends his career Ted Williams-style. And it’s kind of fun to remember where some of these dudes ended up playing at the end, both geographically and existentially. Everyone likes to remember Bob Gibson on top of some tall mound in the 1960s. The image of him ending in the mid-70s while wearing double-knits isn’t one that readily computes.
Like with most of Chris’ work, the background and story is more interesting than the list entry itself. What can he do? Dude’s a historian, and that’s just how good historians roll.
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.