Well, an old-new group, as Houston businessman Jim Crane had previously been mulling an offer before dropping out a month ago. Now he’s back, reports MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan. That makes three in the bidding: Crane, Pittsburgh sports lawyer Chuck Greenberg and Beverly Hills insurance man, former agent, and alleged inventor of free agency, Dennis Gilbert.
It’s been reported that Nolan Ryan will bail as team President if Gilbert buys, and that he’ll stay if Greenberg buys, because Ryan is attached to Greenberg’s bid. No word on what happens with Crane.
Ultimately, however, that won’t be a factor in the bidding, of course. As Sullivan reports “economics will drive this deal.” More specifically, cash, as the seller — Hicks Sports Group — is in desperate need of it, and will likely accept the bid from whoever is able to get it done as quickly as possible.
A decision on which group gets an exclusive negotiating window with Hicks is supposed to come on Tuesday. Of course, the Cubs were supposed to be sold in a fairly quick time frame too and that took three years.
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.