Predictably no team wanted anything to do with Yuniesky Betancourt and his contract on waivers, so after designating him for assignment last week the Royals have outright released the veteran infielder.
Kansas City signed Betancourt to a one-year, $2 million deal this offseason despite seeing his amazing out-making ability first-hand in 2010. Between stints with the Royals he was the Brewers’ starting shortstop for a year and hit his usual .252 with a ghastly .271 on-base percentage.
This season Betancourt was even worse, batting .228 with a .256 on-base percentage and .400 slugging percentage in 57 games, mostly as a second baseman, drawing a ridiculous nine walks in 228 plate appearances.
Betancourt’s one real asset is above-average power for a middle infielder, but when that comes with an OBP well below .300 and sub par defense it equals a pretty terrible all-around player.
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.