Denigrating Jack Morris’ Hall of Fame case is a winter tradition unmatched by anything this side of Christmas. Oh, the warmth I have been provided by hours of “pitching to the score” arguments in those dark late December and early January days!
But, surprisingly, it’s just as nice in May too. Because I got a nice little feeling of happiness reading Rany Jazayerli’s latest column over at Grantland — about the current Detroit Tigers — which found the time to drop the following aside about the 1984 Detroit Tigers:
That team wasn’t built around superstars, though — 28 years later, not one member of the 1984 Tigers is in the Hall of Fame.
Then the footnote:
The good news is that one of the 1984 Tigers may be inducted in the next year or two. The bad news is that it will be Jack Morris, who was maybe the fifth-best player on the team.
For what it’s worth, three of those better players are clearly Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker and Darrell Evans, all of whom should be in the Hall of Fame before Jack Morris. The fourth may be open for debate. Chet Lemon was pretty great even though no one remembers him now. Kirk Gibson was on that team and had a great year. I’m not exactly sure who Rany is referencing as the fourth, but there are multiple candidates.
Anyway, I know it’s not Hall of Fame season, but it’s always worth reminding ourselves of Jack Morris’ place in the universe.
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.