Jose Iglesias’ slick fielding drew rave reviews in Red Sox camp, so much so that there was some speculation (and comments from manager Bobby Valentine) about the 22-year-old prospect winning the starting shortstop job, but today Boston sent him to Triple-A and essentially handed Mike Aviles the gig.
There’s no doubt that Iglesias’ glove is big-league ready, but he was awful offensively at Triple-A last season, hitting just .235 with a .285 on-base percentage and .269 slugging percentage in 101 games. Any projection based on those numbers would be among the worst in baseball, so it makes sense for the Red Sox to give him more time to develop while turning the position over to Aviles.
Aviles is a career .288 hitter with a .737 OPS and offers plenty of versatility defensively, but he may be stretched as an everyday shortstop and it won’t be surprising if Nick Punto works his way into the lineup some based on his superior defense. Boston is no doubt hoping that they’ll simply be keeping the position warm for Iglesias, but it all depends on him showing some semblance of hitting ability.
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.