Bench coach Ken Oberkfell was let go yesterday as part of the Mets’ coaching staff shakeup and Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that their list of candidates to replace him includes former Nationals manager Jim Riggleman.
In addition to Riggleman, who stepped down in the middle of the season over a contract dispute, the Mets’ bench coach search is also said to include former A’s manager Bob Geren, former Mariners manager John McLaren, and former Phillies manager Larry Bowa.
Terry Collins has already had his contract option for 2013 picked up, so as of now his job security seems pretty strong, but pursuing four different former big-league managers as his bench coach would at the very least put a potential replacement in the same dugout.
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.