The Padres and catcher Nick Hundley already avoided arbitration in mid-January by agreeing on a one-year, $2 million contract, but Corey Brock of MLB.com hears that negotiations on a contract extension have “heated up” this week and that a deal “could be close.”
Hundley has actually talked with the Padres about a possible extension dating back to before former general manager Jed Hoyer left San Diego to join Theo Epstein with the Cubs. The 28-year-old backstop is currently under team control through 2014.
Hundley appeared in just 82 games last season due to elbow surgery and a stint on the DL with an oblique injury, but he also enjoyed his best offensive season in the majors, batting .288/.347/.477 batting line to go along with nine homers, 29 RBI and an .824 OPS over 308 plate appearances. PETCO Park is a more favorable environment for right-handed hitters than left-handed hitters, but you might be surprised to learn that he has a .271/.340/.478 career batting line and an .818 OPS at home compared to a .240/.290/.367 career batting line and a .657 OPS on the road.
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.