New York Yankees v New York Mets

Stay classy, Mike Lupica

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Mike Lupica brings the class. In his A-Rod column he plays the same “A-Rod just needs to go away” tune as everyone else at the Daily News. Then, when explaining the options the Yankees have, drops this gem about the MLB Players Association:

Or — this appears to be even more of a longshot — they want the commissioner of baseball, Bud Selig, to hit him with a drug suspension so they can start exploring ways to void his contract, even though the Major League Baseball Players Association will fight to protect guaranteed money in baseball the way gun nuts protect their guns.

Get that? A union, whose sole function is to protect the collectively bargained-for rights of its membership, is the equivalent of “gun nuts.”  I’m gonna go on a limb and say, based on past quasi-political things Lupica has written, that he is not exactly the staunchest Second Amendment guy, so in addition to equating the MLBPA to “nuts” he’s probably implicitly saying here that guaranteed contracts are illegitimate and unnecessary.

I also assume that he would be totally cool in giving up some of the money in his contract with the Daily News if he suddenly became unpopular.

Anyway, gotta hand it to the Daily News these past few days. Aside from utterly ignoring reality with respect to A-Rod’s contract situation and being wholly uncritical of their Yankees sources, they have done a bang-up job ratcheting the rhetoric to a ridiculous degree.

Well played, guys. Well played.

Josh Johnson retires from baseball

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Josh Johnson #55 of the San Diego Padres poses during Picture Day on February 21, 2014 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
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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.

Report: Angels close to a multi-year deal with Luis Valbuena

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 08:  Luis Valbuena #18 of the Houston Astros hits a three run walkoff home run in the ninth inning to defeat the Oakland Athletics 10-9 at Minute Maid Park on July 8, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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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.