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How Philadelphia lost the Athletics

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Great, long story from Warren Corbett at The Hardball Times today about the waning days of the Philadelphia Athletics.

Connie Mack was in his 90s and his race was all but run. His kids were feuding. The team was hemorrhaging money and no one could figure out what to do. As the Macks tried to hold on to the team — or sell it, depending on which Mack you asked — the other American League owners all had their own agendas on what should happen to the A’s. Some wanted them to stay in Philly. Some wanted them to move to Kansas City. Some wanted them to move to Los Angeles before the National League moved west. Meanwhile Bill Veeck, who had just been drummed out of ownership in St. Louis, was literally hanging around outside the board room trying to get involved.

Just a fascinating look at how the Lords of Baseball dealt with one of the AL’s charter franchises in 1954. How they got to Kansas City and, eventually, Oakland. And how the machinations which are keeping the A’s out of San Jose — or anywhere else — today seem like child’s play compared to the plight of the Philadelphia Athletics.

Josh Johnson retires from baseball

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Josh Johnson #55 of the San Diego Padres poses during Picture Day on February 21, 2014 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
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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.

Report: Angels close to a multi-year deal with Luis Valbuena

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 08:  Luis Valbuena #18 of the Houston Astros hits a three run walkoff home run in the ninth inning to defeat the Oakland Athletics 10-9 at Minute Maid Park on July 8, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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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.