After failing to make the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2000/2001 the Angels will be “creative” and “aggressive” this offseason, according to general manager Tony Reagins.
Reagins told Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times that “we’re not going to sit back and let things come” and “we’re going to try to improve the club.”
Of course, that may be easier said than done because the Angels have committed $100 million to just nine players for next season–which doesn’t include big raises for arbitration-eligible guys–and DiGiovanna writes that their projected payroll is around $120-$130 million.
“Creative” and “aggressive” are tough when you only have $25 million to throw around and plenty of holes to fill, but that’s what happens when the GM absorbs Vernon Wells’ massive contract and gives Bobby Abreu a $9 million option for 2012.
DiGiovanna calls it “doubtful” that the Angels will pursue Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder as free agents, instead speculating that they might make a run at shortstop Jose Reyes and then possibly deal an incumbent middle infielder–Erick Aybar or Howie Kendrick–for pitching help.
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.