Trade rumors swirling around Dee Gordon seem to have died down, but Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times has an interesting note about the Dodgers shortstop:
The Dodgers have talked about moving the fleet-footed Gordon to the outfield but appear inclined to keep him at shortstop for now. Gordon figures to start the season at Triple-A Albuquerque.
“I hate to give up on him at short,” [manager Don] Mattingly said.
Gordon hasn’t hit well or fielded well in the majors so far, producing a measly .614 OPS and some terrible defensive numbers. His elite speed would be intriguing in center field, where range is far more important than sure-handedness, but barring a trade the Dodgers have Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp, and Andre Ethier locked in as their starting outfield for a long time.
Hanley Ramirez is ahead of Gordon on the shortstop depth chart, but his moving back to third base could be an option at some point, especially if/when Luis Cruz comes back down to earth a bit. Whatever the case, at age 25 this is a crucial season for Gordon’s career.
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.