Some pretty significant news to pass along on this Christmas Eve afternoon.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, “all signs and top MLB sources” say that the Athletics will be granted permission by February to move to San Jose.
Of course, the A’s efforts to move have been stonewalled since 2009 so that a Bud Selig-appointed committee could study the matter. The Giants own the territorial rights to San Jose and have been reluctant to give them up until now.
While Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reported last month that Selig planned to address the issue with the Giants within two weeks, he reported last night that the meeting has yet to take place. However, Nightengale indicates that the matter may be put up to a vote among MLB owners.
The Athletics are in the midst of their latest rebuilding effort, trading Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez for prospects over the past couple of weeks. The club has already purchased land in San Jose and co-owner Lew Wolff has indicated that a new ballpark could be open for business within 30-36 months once they are given approval by MLB.
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.