Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times reports that Dee Gordon has been taking grounders at second base at Triple-A, which makes sense considering Dodgers second baseman Mark Ellis is hurt and Gordon’s defense at shortstop was pretty bad last year.
Dilbeck says it’s more of a long-term thing, rather than some reaction to Ellis’ quadriceps injury, but either way it could help Gordon get back to the majors. Of course, regardless of his position Gordon also needs to show that he can handle big-league pitching after hitting .220 with a .561 OPS in 87 games last season.
Gordon’s speed is truly elite–he has 56 steals in 143 games as a major leaguer despite rarely being on base–but the Dodgers need to figure out where he can play defensively and whether he can be more than a utility man-caliber hitter.
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.