Some have speculated that the Angels could be a player for Jose Reyes or another high-profile free agent this winter, but if owner Arte Moreno can be believed, a big ticket item might not be in the cards.
According to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, Moreno said this afternoon that the Angels will likely have a payroll in the $130-140 range in 2012. The Angels had a team record $142 million payroll in 2011 and missed the playoffs for the second straight season.
The Angels already have around $100 million tied up in just nine players next season. Yes, Vernon Wells is the albatross that keeps on giving. Assuming they tender contracts to Jerome Williams, Kendrys Morales, Alberto Callaspo, Erick Aybar and Howie Kendrick, they will be somewhere around $120 million. Unless new general manager Jerry Dipoto can get creative, that leaves little wiggle room for a major addition via free agency.
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.