This is pretty minor in the grand scheme of things, but I’ve been thinking a bit about the timing of Mark McGwire’s little coming out party. Obviously his hiring meant that he had to talk about all of this, but when was the best time?
He was hired in October. Major League Baseball probably would have got mad if he brought this circus down during the playoffs and World Series, so that’s out. It was reported in yesterday’s New York Times that he didn’t want to do it before last week’s Hall of Fame announcement, because “because he did not want to appear as if he were trying to affect his chances of getting into the Hall of Fame.” That makes sense too, so cross off the rest of November and December. If he had gone too long beyond now it would have been getting pretty close to spring training, and people would have increasingly wondered when he was going to talk.
I guess, then, that Monday was as good a time as any. Which is kind of a bummer for me, because I was thinking of starting a rumor that Bill DeWitt demanded that he talk now in order to draw attention away from the fact that he got schooled by Boras in the Matt Holliday negotiations. Oh well.
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.