The best evidence that Major League Baseball needs to re-think the whole structure of the Winter Meetings is taking place in front of me as I type this: up on the stage, the Mariners are officially announcing the Chone Figgins signing. The signing that everyone has known about for several days.
To be sure, there is something new: it’s a four year deal with an option year added. No one has mentioned the option, I don’t think. So thanks.
But if we’ve learned anything this week, we’ve learned that the baseball world now moves much faster than the speed of press release. In light of this, the official announcement is quaint, bordering on the superfluous.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.