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Phillies consider signing Michael Cuddyer a “middle priority”

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The Phillies met with free agent outfielder Michael Cuddyer a few days ago in the City of Brotherly Love, giving him a tour of Citizens Bank Park and taking him out to a lunch attended by multiple front office officials. But their interest in signing him to a long-term contract is not as high as you might think.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe spoke this weekend to a source with knowledge of the Phillies’ offseason strategy. And that source said this:

“[Cuddyer is] about a middle priority. They’d love to have him, but the Phillies aren’t going to go crazy to make it happen, either.’’

In other words, that meet-and-greet was more of a feeler than anything. If Cuddyer’s market isn’t flush with suitors and his asking price drops, the Phillies might pounce and make him their new starting left fielder (and part-time first baseman). But for now they’re simply monitoring talks. Cuddyer, who turns 33 in March, batted .284/.346/.459 with 20 homers and 70 RBI in 584 plate appearances this past season for Minnesota.

Josh Johnson retires from baseball

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Josh Johnson #55 of the San Diego Padres poses during Picture Day on February 21, 2014 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
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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.

Report: Angels close to a multi-year deal with Luis Valbuena

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 08:  Luis Valbuena #18 of the Houston Astros hits a three run walkoff home run in the ninth inning to defeat the Oakland Athletics 10-9 at Minute Maid Park on July 8, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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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.