Dusty Baker is a tough guy to get a handle on.
Yesterday the Reds manager dove head-first into the Johnny Cueto-Matt Garza feud by saying that he thinks players should settle disputes by locking themselves in a room and fighting until “somebody hits the ground.”
Then later in the same afternoon he publicly criticized his team’s best player, Joey Votto, for using curse words after striking out. John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes:
Baker wasn’t happy with Votto’s outburts.
“I understand (his frustration),” Baker said. “I have a son that idolizes him. Sometimes an open display of displeasure is not a good example, whether you come through or not later. Joey is the face of baseball. I’d like to see him temper it a little bit.”
So swearing is a no-no because “I have a son that idolizes him” and it’s “not a good example” but suggesting that two baseball players go into a room and beat each other up to settle an on-field issue is a great idea. I’m sure there’s some “old-school” reasoning for why naughty words are terrible and violence is wonderful, but the juxtaposition within the same afternoon sure seems odd.
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.