Guess that’s a relief to Mike Scioscia, who currently has the job and is under contract to manage the Angels through 2018. But Ken Rosenthal and La Russa have heard the rumors, and those rumors had to be addressed:
“I’m not going to manage again,” La Russa told FOXSports.com on Wednesday night. “I’m going to work for a team someday. But it won’t be managing.”
La Russa had planned to be at the Tigers-Angels series this weekend because he is close with Jim Leyland, Dave Dombrowski and Albert Pujols, but now he says he’s not going so as not to make it appear as though he’s looming over Mike Scioscia’s shoulder. Which is pretty classy of him.
Still, even if La Russa isn’t interested, I stand by my preseason prediction that Mike Scioscia will be the first manager fired this year, five years left on his contract or not. You rarely get more than one chance to manage a team that has made giant splashes on the free agent market. Unless the Angels turn things around quickly, they will be facing the second straight year of falling flat after spending a gabillion bucks. Someone’s gotta pay for that.
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.