It was one thing when underperformers like Domonic Brown were complaining about Ryne Sandberg’s decisions. But now Cole Hamels is. At least in a passive-aggressive fashion. From Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com:
Cole Hamels appeared none too happy with Sandberg’s decision to remove him from Tuesday night’s game after giving up a game-tying home run (on his 84th pitch) to lead off the eighth inning . . . After the game, Hamels employed some textbook passive aggressiveness in confirming what his body language told everybody in the ballpark as he left the mound: He was perturbed that Sandberg did not let him stay in the game.
“Um, I just think it was a good game and we were able to win,” said Hamels as he pointedly dodged a question about why he was so visibly upset upon leaving the game.
He had only thrown 84 pitches. But at the same time, he had escaped a jam of his own devising in the seventh and had just given up the lead. And his team won. His team has won a lot lately, actually, against some good teams. One would think that would buy Sandberg a little slack, but I guess not.
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.