Bob Nightengale sat down for an interview with Dodgers owner Mark Walter and team president Stan Kasten yesterday. And if there was any notion that Walter is going to be some sort of behind the scenes, business-oriented owner, it was put to rest.
Walter sends Kasten trade ideas all the time. He talks about how damn frustrating it was to see the Dodgers not be able to hit against the Rockies, essentially saying, “hey, their pitchers suck, why can’t we hit them?” And, he says, the Dodgers are going to become as dominant in the NL West as the Braves were in the East throughout the 90s:
They believe the Dodgers will become a dynasty, and when asked whether it’s possible for anyone to duplicate the Atlanta Braves’ era when they won 14 consecutive division titles with Kasten as president, they weren’t shy.
“It’s going to be done again,” Walter said, “this time on the West Coast. Oh, sorry.”
Kasten, briefly taken aback by the bravado, said: “I’m saying, ‘Yes.’ But that’s all I’m going to say.”
I like owners to be fans. I like them wanting to win. While you don’t want a guy to constantly meddle or turn into some sort of old Steinbrenner/Loria figure, I sorta hope Walter becomes one of those hands-on owners who is happy when the team wins and loudly complains when they lose. It’d be good for business.
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.