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Melky Cabrera’s agents cleared of wrongdoing by MLBPA

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Melky Cabrera’s agents, Seth and Sam Levinson of ACES, have been cleared of any wrongdoing in the attempted coverup of Melky Cabrera’s positive test for testosterone following an investigation by the MLB players’ association. In other words, the union has apparently agreed with the notion that former ACES consultant Juan Nunez acted alone in the fake website/supplement scam. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports has the scoop.

Upon Cabrera’s 50-game suspension, the union launched an investigation into ACES, which provided more than 1,000 pages of emails, phone records, personnel records and other documents, according to the memo. The union also spoke with the Levinsons and other ACES employees, a contractor who handles information technology for ACES and two co-conspirators of Nunez. All current employees were cleared of wrongdoing in the Cabrera case.

ACES’ cooperation into the investigation, as well as its previous compliance with Agent Regulations, worked in the agency’s favor, the sources said.

Also of note, the union will not investigate past allegations from the Mitchell Report or former ACES client Paul Lo Duca which link the Levinsons to performance-enhancing drugs. The union is expected to discipline the agency for how they handled the Nunez situation, but it’s not clear how they will be punished. However, Passan obtained a memo that was distributed to ACES clients which said any sanctions “will not compromise ACES’ ability to represent you in contract negotiations.”

This is a big win for an agency which has lost clients like Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes, Nyjer Morgan and Everth Cabrera over the past couple of months. While none of their exits were believed to be related to the Cabrera fallout, the Levinsons’ reputation has really been through the wringer from a public relations perspective.

Josh Johnson retires from baseball

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Josh Johnson #55 of the San Diego Padres poses during Picture Day on February 21, 2014 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
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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.

Report: Angels close to a multi-year deal with Luis Valbuena

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 08:  Luis Valbuena #18 of the Houston Astros hits a three run walkoff home run in the ninth inning to defeat the Oakland Athletics 10-9 at Minute Maid Park on July 8, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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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.