This will be Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe’s third year as a Hall of Fame voter. In year one he decided no suspected steroid users will ever get his vote. In year two he softened his stance, only withholding votes from players who were documented steroid users. This year, however, he has decided that it’s time to end all of that: PED use will not be a part of his analysis going forward. It will be all about what happened on the field.
Go read his column about his new approach. Note that, in changing his view of the matter, he is in no way endorsing PED use or absolving players of their cheating ways. He’s merely acknowledging that PEDs were a reality of the sport for a long time, that there are limits to what a voter can know, that consistency is important and that, ultimately, it is not the place of a baseball writer to become a judge of character as much as he or she is a judge of baseball prowess.
This is encouraging.
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.