UPDATE: Heyman was told by Dodgers officials that it’s unlikely they’ll make a run at Pierzynski. Makes sense with Ellis in-house. As in, they’re all stocked up on A.J.’s.
10:15 PM: It seems like the deep-pocketed Dodgers have been mentioned as a potential suitor for nearly every free agent on the market. Now it’s A.J. Pierzynski’s turn.
According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Dodgers have emerged as an “interesting surprise possibility” for Pierzynski. A.J. Ellis is coming off a solid season, so it’s not a huge area of need, but Heyman notes that the Dodgers tried to sign Pierzynski two years ago before he returned to the White Sox for less money.
The market for Pierzynski has been pretty quiet thus far, but things could heat up now that Russell Martin has signed a two-year, $17 million deal with the Pirates. The Yankees, Mariners and Rangers are among the teams in the market for a catcher. The Red Sox are currently talking to Mike Napoli, but view him more as a first baseman and occasional catcher. The White Sox can’t be ruled out as a possibility for Pierzynski, though it appears they are content with giving Tyler Flowers a shot.
Pierzynski is looking to cash in this winter after batting .278/.326/.501 in 2012 while establishing new career-highs with 27 homers and an .827 OPS. He turns 36 later this month.
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.