Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics

The Athletics have reached a ten-year lease extension to stay in the Oakland Coliseum

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Oakland Athletics owner Lew Wolff announced today that the team has reached a 10-year lease extension with the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority to stay at the Oakland Coliseum. It still has to be approved by the city and the county. There are a lot of politics to all of that, but one has to assume that a team actually wanting to stay in that building is a gift horse into whose mouth they don’t want to too closely look.

The Coliseum is obviously a wreck, of course — the sewage problems are well-documented and two weeks ago the lights literally went out during a game — but this lease is likely the first step in Wolff’s grand Plan B, given that San Jose seems to be a pipe dream that neither Major League Baseball nor the San Francisco Giants want to see happen. If it doesn’t, Oakland it is, because there really aren’t a ton of other places that make a lot of sense.

The battle now is where in Oakland. There have been competing proposals for a new home for the A’s, all either unlikely to come to fruition or still in their nascent stages. There was one that would have the A’s build on the waterfront, but Wolff’s re-upping at the Coliseum and his plans to do something at the existing site, be it a Coliseum renovation or a new ballpark, seem to be way more likely. They certainly have the blessing of Major League Baseball. Bud Selig released this statement today:

“I commend the Oakland Athletics and the JPA for their efforts in reaching an extension for a lease at O.co Coliseum.  The agreement on this extension is a crucial first step towards keeping Major League Baseball in Oakland.

“I continue to believe that the Athletics need a new facility and am fully supportive of the club’s view that the best site in Oakland is the Coliseum site.  Contrary to what some have suggested, the committee that has studied this issue did not determine that the Howard Terminal site was the best location for a new facility in Oakland.”

In other news, that committee of his has actually studied something. People study and get PhDs in the time it took to choose between a couple of ballpark sites — and they still have released their “dissertation” about that choice — but good for them for working!

My gut says that if they’re not going to leave town altogether, staying where they are would be a good plan given the public transportation that goes right to the Coliseum’s front door. But of course my gut is pretty ill-informed about all of the local issues at play here as I have only visited the area a handful of times and have little more to go on than the stuff my Bay Area-dwelling friends have said on the matter. For that reason, go check out Newballpark.org for continuing coverage of this stuff. Those guys are on it all the damn time.

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.