Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Wednesday evening that Brian Wilson has begun to turn the corner in his recovery from Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery. So it stands to reason that the free agent reliever is now starting to talk with teams that want to sign him.
According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the Mets are “showing strong interest” in Wilson and sent general manager Sandy Alderson to a private workout with the right-hander on Saturday. They’re presumably viewing him as a low-risk, high-reward type of guy who could be flipped for youth at this year’s trade deadline if he enjoys a decent first half.
The Mets’ current closer, Frank Francisco, posted an ugly 5.53 ERA and 1.61 WHIP across 42 1/3 innings last summer for New York. He’s entering the final chapter of a two-year, $12 million contract.
Wilson, who should ne near full strength on Opening Day, owns a 3.21 career ERA.
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.