Excluding the job in Boston he just vacated, there’s only one current managerial opening for Terry
Francona. The White Sox, though, aren’t believed to be all that interested, in large part because Francona is sure to want to remain one of the game’s highest-paid managers (and deservedly so).
So, where to for Terry? The North Side of Chicago with the Cubs could be an option, depending on whom they hire as a general manager. It seems likely that the replacement for Jim Hendry there will want to make a change from Mike Quade.
But I think there’s another possibility. There’s been plenty of speculation that 67-year-old Tony La Russa could retire in St. Louis. Some have even suggested he might like to finish his career back with the White Sox (the team he managed from 1979-1986). La Russa, like Francona, is finishing up his latest contract, so he wouldn’t have to resign or get fired.
And if La Russa leaves, Francona to St. Louis seems like a perfect match. The Cardinals are used to having one of the game’s highest-paid managers, so spending $4 million per year on Francona isn’t a stretch, and Francona is pretty much the perfect manager to take over a contender and keep it contending. Even if they lose Albert Pujols this winter, the Cards would still very much be a threat in the NL Central.
So, it’s a possibility, even if it’s more likely at this point that La Russa will stay another year. Which could mean that Francona will go into broadcasting for a bit and wait for another glamour job to open up.
Anyway, here’s Terry in his own words from Friday evening’s press conference.
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.