Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston reports that Theo Epstein is truly on the fence about leaving Boston, with one source close to Epstein saying that it’s 50-50 Epstein would take another job.
It’s all rather touchy-feely, of course. Epstein may want to go to find a new challenge, but he feels a loyalty to the organization and has a year left on his deal. Meanwhile, owner John Henry loves Theo and seems to want him to stay but, according to Edes “there also is the sense that the loyalty Epstein feels toward Henry is reciprocal, and that Henry would not stand in the way if Epstein wanted to pursue another opportunity.”
So if he goes, where does he go? Everyone talks about the Cubs, but the Angels job just opened up too, Edes reminds us. As for a Theo replacement, Edes’ sources believe strongly that assistant GM Ben Cherington would get the nod.
How does this resolve itself? It seems that a job offer will set things in motion, not a firing of or a resignation by Epstein. He’ll leave if he can find a job he likes. If not, he’s back.
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.