Interesting stuff from Richard Sandomir at the New York Times. The papers and letters of Marvin Miller, the late honcho of the MLBPA.
In it, letters from Ted Turner in 1980, so impressed with Miller’s work that he wishes he could be a player rather than an owner. Which, well, yeah, Turner probably would have wished that anyway. Plus some very early and delicious byplay between Miller and his arch-enemy Bowie Kuhn.
What has always struck me more than anything about Miller is that he took his mission extremely seriously. His work could have been on behalf of auto workers, coal miners, Teamsters or baseball players, and he would have approached it the same way. His opponents, however, didn’t think of the business of baseball as a real business. It was for them, of course, but the players were kids not to be taken seriously. As such, the owners never met Miller on the field of labor battle like any other responsible captains of industry would. This allowed Miller to take the battle to them, always putting them on the defensive.
Some of that, at least from Miller’s perspective, is revealed here. Good stuff. Would love to go look at all of it.
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.