Tal Smith spent 35 years in the Astros organization prior to being fired last night and the longtime team president told Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle that he’s upset with how the situation unfolded.
Smith admitted to seeing the writing on the wall once Jim Crane named George Postolos the president of his new ownership group, but wasn’t officially informed of his firing until after the news had leaked to the media and was let go without speaking to Crane at any point in the past three months.
Smith also made it very clear that he has no plans to retire at age 78 and would even consider rejoining the Astros in a different role.
However, he doesn’t expect that to happen and when asked if he’ll be involved in the Astros’ upcoming 50th anniversary celebration, Smith replied: “I doubt I’ll be asked.”
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.