Jon Lester’s name has been out there for a long time, but today there seems to be a consensus forming that the Red Sox will absolutely trade Jon Lester before Thursday’s trade deadline. Yahoo’s Jeff Passan says “sentiment among competing executives is unanimous” that the Red Sox will deal him. Many other reporters are echoing that sentiment.
There are a ton of teams who could use Lester, but the Pirates are being mentioned as a “dark horse.” Passan and Tim Brown of Yahoo note that the Pirates could use an ace as much as anyone — they’re in a 3-4 team dogfight for the NL Central — but that they have a deep farm system and that prospect outfielder Josh Bell is “at the center” of talks.
If that doesn’t work the Dodgers, Brewers, Blue Jays and Orioles are candidates. While the latter teams are in the AL East with the Sox, Boston could probably deal with that and could probably safely assume Lester would test the free agent market following the season thereby not being a pain to his old mates several times a year if dealt to Baltimore or Toronto.
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.