The Red Sox currently have three pitchers — Daniel Bard, Alfredo Aceves and Felix Doubront — vying for the final two spots in the starting rotation. And with the start of the season just days away, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine is ready to announce a decision.
Perhaps it’s just the way the information was framed by Cafardo, but this would seem to suggest that Valentine will ultimately make the call, which is interesting considering that we heard last weekend that he was skeptical about Bard’s conversion from the bullpen to the starting rotation. Still, it would be surprising if Bard didn’t get a chance. No harm in giving him a handful of starts and moving him back to the bullpen if things don’t work out. It’s a lot more difficult to do it the other way around.
If Bard does get the nod, the expectation is that Doubront would get the other spot, as they wouldn’t want to weaken the bullpen too much.
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.