Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the Indians are one of nine teams who have expressed interest in free agent Casey Blake.
Blake was limited to just 63 games this season in the final year of a three-year, $17.5 million contract. The 38-year-old batted .252/.342/.371 with four homers, 26 RBI and a .713 OPS over 239 plate appearances before undergoing season-ending surgery on his neck in early September.
Blake previously played with the Indians from 2003 until July of 2008 when he was swapped to the Dodgers in the trade that brought Carlos Santana to Cleveland. Sorry to bring that one up again, Dodgers fans.
While Blake is a major question mark health-wise, Hoynes writes that the Indians view him as a potential backup at the corner infield and outfield positions and also believe he could help balance out their lefty-heavy lineup. He’ll likely have to settle for a one-year, incentive-laden deal.
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.