Late players’ union head Michael Weiner was remembered during a memorial service last night. The event took place at a Manhattan night club and there were loads of players and former players in the crowd, as well as MLB’s COO Rob Manfred and Yankees president Randy Levine. The quote of the night has to come from Craig Counsell:
“You know you have style when you’re a hotshot attorney in midtown Manhattan and you wear sneakers and jeans to work every day. And you know you have style when you walk into a room of baseball players who most days think the world revolves around them, and you walk out of that room and they know that Michael Weiner was the coolest guy in that room.”
Cool isn’t the word you’d first think of when you saw the skinny, shaggy-haired, casually-dressed Weiner, but after 25 years in the trenches for the MLBPA and, by all reports, continuing to be laid back and centered, “cool” had to be the best explanation.
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.