Carlos Beltran’s time in St. Louis is likely over, as Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reports that he will turn down the club’s qualifying offer and hopes to land a three- or four-year deal in free agency.
It’s pretty amazing that a three- or four-year deal could be even semi-realistic given Beltran’s knee issues during the end of his tenure with the Mets, but he has remained mostly healthy and productive over the last three seasons, averaging 146 games played. He batted .296/.339/.491 with 24 home runs and 84 RBI this season and could be poised to capitalize following another strong postseason.
Brown reports that six teams have expressed “varying degrees of interest” thus far and names the Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, Orioles, and Phillies among possible fits. It’s no surprise that most are American League teams, as Beltran turns 37 years old next April and would be an ideal fit in a situation where he can get some designate hitter time in order to stay fresh.
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.