We hear a story about this every couple of years, but every couple of years some new parks have come online to make the differences between their amenities and those of the venerable Wrigley Field all the more stark:
The clubhouse, which was last renovated in 1990, is more notable for what it lacks than what it offers. There is no cafeteria, no TV lounge, no video room and no couches. The only indoor batting cage is under the bleachers in right field. And while players are free to use the Cubs’ weight room, the visiting clubhouse offers only a stationary bike.
“On some levels, it’s very similar to Dodger Stadium, but there, you’ve got little corridors and things that they’ve added,” Mets left fielder Jason Bay said. “At Wrigley Field, there’s no room to go anywhere.”
The home clubhouse is better, but that much better.
And your first impression may be “poor little millionaire ballplayers,” but the fact is, dudes have to work in this place for six months out of the year. If the money is fairly even on a free agent offer, bad facilities could make the difference.
The Cubs need to improve matters soon. Even if it they can’t get $300 million in taxpayer money to do it, which is the current plan.
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.