Already this offseason reports have linked David Freese to the Yankees and the Marlins, and now Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Angels have “discussed a trade” for the Cardinals third baseman.
St. Louis shopping Freese makes sense, because he’s coming off a down year and about to get expensive via arbitration. Plus, the Cardinals have top prospect Kolten Wong just about ready to step in at second base, which would allow them to replace Freese by shifting Matt Carpenter to third base.
Freese hit .262 with nine homers and a .721 OPS in 138 games this year, but made the All-Star team in 2012 while hitting .293 with 20 homers and an .839 OPS before going nuts in the playoffs.
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.