The Astros had no real use for Ben Francisco after acquiring him from the Blue Jays in last month’s 10-player deal, so they moved him right along Friday, sending him to Tampa Bay for a player to be named.
Francisco played in 31 games in his six weeks with the Astros and hit .247/.289/.365 in 85 at-bats. That’s more action that he saw in 3 1/2 months with the Jays earlier this season, as he hit .240/.296/.380 in 50 at-bats for Toronto.
Francisco will likely go back to seeing less playing time in Tampa Bay. He doesn’t have much of a platoon split, so he’s only so useful as a starter against lefties. Still, as a fifth outfielder who can play pretty good defense in the corners, he’s worth the roster spot.
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.