UPDATE: Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that he hasn’t spoken with Rolen’s agents in the last couple of days, but he didn’t rule out the possibility that the veteran third baseman could return to Cincinnati for another season.
“I think there’s a chance we get something worked out,” he said. “We’re talking about the details — how much opportunity is there.”
11:19 AM: Scott Rolen still hasn’t decided whether to retire or return for an 18th season, but it sounds like he’s now leaning toward playing again.
For most of the offseason John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer has speculated that Rolen was more likely to call it quits, but today Fay writes: “I’m hearing now that Rolen wants to play.”
And because the Reds have repeatedly said they’d welcome Rolen back Fay guesses that the holdup “may be money” because the team is up against its payroll limit already.
Rolen presumably realizes he’d be a part-time player coming off a sub par season, so even though he’s made huge salaries for most of his career it’s hard to imagine him holding out for a ton now. And if he is, it’s possible that the Dodgers would be his best fit anyway.
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.