We heard yesterday that veteran third baseman Scott Rolen was leaning toward returning for another season, but it’s not clear whether he’ll do so as a member of the Reds. We might not have to wait much longer to find out.
According to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com, Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said today that Rolen’s status is “still up in the air,” but that he’s hoping to “get it resolved this weekend.” Just where he’d fit on the Reds’ roster is unknown, but Jocketty said his role would be determined during spring training.
Rolen would almost certainly have to take a backseat to Todd Frazier after he batted just .245/.318/.398 with eight home runs, 39 RBI and a .716 OPS over 92 games last season. The Dodgers have also expressed interest in him this winter and could present a better opportunity and quite possibly, a more lucrative offer.
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.