Colorado Rockies Photo Day

Walt Weiss better have a good first year as Rockies manager

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Here’s an interesting little twist to the Rockies announcing Walt Weiss as their new manager last night: He got a one-year contract.

“I am not motivated by the terms of contract,” Weiss told Troy Renck of the Denver Post. “I am just focused on the job.”

Of course it’s easy to say that now, on literally Day 1 of the job and after going from high school coach to MLB manager, but it’s very rare for a manager–even a first-time manager–to not be given a multi-year contract.

Mike Redmond just got a three-year deal from the Marlins and last offseason the White Sox gave Robin Ventura a three-year deal and the Cardinals gave Mike Matheny a two-year deal with a third-year option. They were all hired as first-time MLB managers.

Renck notes that Weiss wasn’t actively looking for a job when the Rockies called him last month and has never even coached in professional baseball, but former coaches and teammates are effusive in their praise of his leadership skills and ability to command respect.

Still, taking over a last-place, 98-loss team on a one-year contract is a helluva challenge.

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.