UPDATE, 4:07 p.m. ET: Well that didn’t take long. Spencer reports that Martinez has resigned from the Marlins.
You can understand how a hitting coach might be upset with a team that has registered a collective .233/.292/.337 batting line. But this is — at any level of baseball — taking it too far:
Marlins hitting coach Tino Martinez was poised to resign after a player notified the team Martinez erupted in anger unjustly and grabbed him by his neck and neck chain, according to multiple sources.
But sources said team owner Jeffrey Loria, who made the decision to hire Martinez, nixed the idea, at least for now.
That story comes from the Miami Herald‘s Clark Spencer, who has identified the victim in that particular incident as second baseman Derek Dietrich. Spencer heard from an unnamed Marlins player that Martinez has also been either physically or verbally abusive this year to outfielder Justin Ruggiano, veteran infielder Chris Valaika and minor-league infielder Matt Downs.
Martinez, 45, had never coached at the MLB level prior to this year. He was a hand-picked hire by Loria.
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.