Buster Olney is on vacation this week and, in his place, various players have been writing guest columns at the beginning of his daily link post. Today it’s Yoenis Cespedes. Mostly it’s about adjusting to life in the United States. It’s pretty interesting.
Part of what’s interesting: two of the A’s players he singles out for credit in helping him adjust. On of them is Bartolo Colon, who, along with Jordan Norberto, he calls “my adoptive family,” and says that he doesn’t even want to imagine what would have happened without them. I guess he’ll have to figure out how to live with Colon now.
But the one to which he gives the most effusive credit? Yup, Manny:
Manny Ramirez provided invaluable support during spring training … During spring training, Manny told me I would hit in the majors and that I only had to work hard every day. Having the opportunity to work closely with someone who has been as extraordinary as Manny is something I will never forget.
I noticed when I was in Phoenix for spring training that the A’s had put Cespedes’ locker right next to Manny’s and that Manny was the only one I saw him talking to apart from his translator, Ariel Prieto.
It’s almost as if the A’s and Cespedes don’t believe all of that “Manny is a clubhouse cancer” stuff that everyone accepts as gospel.
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.