Aaron wrote earlier today how Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton has bounced back nicely with the bat after a slow start to the season, but he’s also getting it done defensively. Look no further than this excellent leaping catch in the ninth inning this afternoon against the Pirates:
Not only did Hamilton rob Travis Snider of an extra-base hit and potentially save the game for the Reds, but he also nearly doubled off the runner at first base. Pretty impressive stuff.
Hamilton doubled, stole a base, and scored a run in today’s loss and is now batting .277/.313/.400 with four home runs, 21 RBI, and 29 stolen bases over 66 games this season. The 23-year-old speedster entered play today tied for 23rd among position players in fWAR (2.3). Not surprisingly, his defense has been a big reason for that.
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.