The Yankees, Phillies, Cubs, Nationals, Tigers and White Sox have all made it known that they plan to pursue Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes once he becomes eligible for major league free agency.
But those clubs may have to contend with a Miami front office that is willing to spend wildly.
According to Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Marlins president David Samson told 790 The Ticket on Thursday that his team is planning an “aggressive” pursuit of Cespedes when he hits the open market later this month. Here’s the full quote:
“Aggressive right to the point of stupidity, but not quite there,” said Samson. “We think he’s a perfect fit for us, but it has to be sane. [We’ve been] expressing interest, going to visit, making it very clear to his representatives and to him and his family that we think he should not be anywhere other than Miami. As a Cuban and someone in the DR, it makes perfect sense. We have a perfect position for him to play. It would be great.”
Cespedes, 26, batted .333/.424/.667 with 33 home runs and 99 RBI in 90 games last season in Cuba. With so many teams fawning over him, it’s possible that he lands a contract in the $50-60 million range.
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.