Matt Murton, who went from being a part-timer and journeyman in America to being a star in Japan, has decided to stay with the Hanshin Tigers for another season.
There had been some speculation that Murton might want to give MLB another try at age 32, but instead he’ll get $3.5 million to remain in Japan for 2014 after hitting .314 with an .845 OPS in 143 games this year. Murton is a career .312 hitter in four Japanese seasons and broke Ichiro Suzuki’s single-season hits record in 2010.
In the American big leagues Murton hit .286 with a .788 OPS in 346 games for the Cubs, Rockies, and A’s, but never quite grabbed hold of a full-time job after 2006.
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.