David Price dominated the Pirates yesterday. Then he stated a simple fact:
“I’ve never been as good as I am right now, period. Not in 2012, not in college, not in high school. This is the best pitcher I’ve ever been. I feel in complete control on the mound at all times.”
Hubris? Perhaps. It’s rare that you hear a ballplayer talking about himself like that, but it’s hard to argue with Price. He’s the first pitcher in more than a decade to strike out ten or more hitters in five straight starts. While his record is not stellar and his ERA sits at 3.63 due to some early rocky starts, he has a K/BB ratio of 144/14 over 124 innings. If he keeps that up — unlikely, but go with me here — it’d be the best such ratio ever.
Price’s confidence and dominance could not be coming at a better time for the Rays, who are shopping him. And who should land a nice haul for their ace lefty.
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.