Tampa Bay called up Hideki Matsui last month despite his hitting just .170 in 13 games at Triple-A, which seemed odd at the time and was clearly an example of the Rays simply hoping that the 38-year-old veteran could summon whatever gas he had left in the tank once he was back in the big leagues.
That looked like a good move right away, as Matsui homered in two of his first three games, but since then he’s 7-for-48 (.146) with zero homers and a .393 OPS in 14 games. Matsui is hitting .158 with a .507 OPS overall, which along with his poor showing at Triple-A and career-worst .696 OPS for the A’s last season suggests that he’s just about finished.
It was a helluva run, but Matsui’s roster spot may be in jeopardy once Luke Scott returns from the disabled list next week and it’s hard to see him finding another big-league gig.
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.