Jay Bruce is 25 years old and already under the Reds’ control through 2017 as part of a $51 million deal inked in December of 2010, but Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that the outfielder wants to add six more years to his contract.
Here’s what Bruce’s agent, Matt Sosnick, told Sheldon:
[Bruce] made it clear that he wants to be a Red his entire career. [Joey] Votto is in his wedding in a couple of weeks and he wants to play with him. He has a lot of friends there. He and his fiancee are very comfortable in Cincinnati. Jay asked me to approach the team and see if something is there. We’ll see if the team has any interest.
General manager Walt Jocketty told Sheldon that it hasn’t been discussed yet.
From the Reds’ point of view committing significantly more money so far into the future to a very good but not elite player they already have signed through age 30 would probably qualify as an unnecessary risk. Unless of course Bruce is willing to give them a major discount to sync his deal up to Votto’s, which runs through 2023 at a total cost of $225 million.
Bruce hit .252 with 34 homers in 155 games this year, posting an .841 OPS that ranked 12th among the 37 corner outfielders to qualify for the batting title. Combined during the past three seasons Bruce hit .262 with an .833 OPS in 460 games.
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.