Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports confirms Peter Gammons’ report that the Angels were interested in acquiring starter A.J. Burnett from the Phillies. The Angels wanted Burnett to waive his player option for 2015, currently worth $10 million and can reach $12.75 million with four more starts, ostensibly so that they can avoid the luxury tax.
Burnett is currently tied for the National League lead in losses with 14. He has a mediocre 4.30 ERA, leads the league in walks with 77, and has struck out only 157 batters in 178 innings.
However, the AL West-leading Angels lost Garrett Richards for the season after he tore the patellar tendon in his left knee a week and a half ago in Boston against the Red Sox. Pitching upgrades are hard to come by at this point in the season. Per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Angels GM Jerry DiPoto doesn’t expect to make a move before the deadline.
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.