Handing out huge long-term contracts to Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton has worked out horribly for the Angels and only figures to get worse, but one of their big free agent commitments is going just fine.
When the Angels inked C.J. Wilson to a five-year, $77.5 million deal it was met with a lot of criticism, but Wilson was a solid innings-eater last season and has been very good this year as the rest of the rotation has fallen apart around him.
Wilson tossed 7.1 innings of one-run ball against the Indians last night, lowering his ERA to 3.30. Since signing with the Angels he’s started 60 games and thrown 369 innings with a 3.59 ERA. That’s a clear step down from his three-year run as a starter for the Rangers that got Wilson the big contract, but by the end of this season he’ll likely have been worth around $30 million according to Fan Graphs’ valuation system.
Wilson is 32 years old and has another three seasons left on the deal, so things going well don’t mean the Angels won’t regret the signing eventually, but on a roster filled with disappointing performances he’s been worth the money.
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.