What are the owners doing down in Arizona?

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As you freeze, the owner of your favorite team is down in Paradise Valley, Arizona meeting with Bud Selig to talk about how to keep the metric system down, leave Atlantis off the maps and rig Oscar night.  Oh, and for the first time at one of these meetings, general managers were invited. Selig said that meeting with the GMs was “historic” and “constructive,” and that “it
was the first time it had happened at this time of year in Major League
Baseball history.”

What time of year is it? Why, it’s right before arbitration figures are exchanged, and Biz of Baseball’s Maury Brown suggests that the reason for the meeting may be to get everyone on the same page with respect to how much money to offer in arbitration:

But, with the filing deadline for salary arbitration looming on
Friday, one possible topic amongst the GMs and owners might be how
clubs planned to file figures for those players that do not settle on
contracts ahead of the January 19th date when players and clubs begin
exchanging asking and offering figures.

The idea that GMs would huddle together and exchange information on
where they plan to file would seem to skirt near collusion. But,
according to a former AL and NL executive, it is not a rare practice.

If they’re exchanging information about how much they’re offering people, it sounds less like they’re “skirting near” collusion and more like plain old collusion. Still Brown talks to a former executive who said that this practice is common, though it’s usually done via conference call.  Well, in that case I guess it’s alright then.

Other stuff going on down at the meetings:

  • Rangers’ owner Tom Hicks met with MLB president
    Bob DuPuy to discuss the Rangers’ sale.  The 30-day exclusive window to sell the team to the Chuck
    Greenberg/Nolan Ryan group is set to expire tomorrow. As I reported just before Christmas, there are concerns that the Greenberg group may be having problems getting their financial house in order.  That was denied.  Jon Heyman said yesterday that there have been “a few hiccups in talks,” though he thinks the deal will go down.  I suppose we’ll know sometime tomorrow.
  • A committee studying the future of the Oakland A’s said that it was not
    ready to make a recommendation about where the team should
    relocate.  I suppose there are a lot of moving parts to this, but it’s not like this is as complicated as the Allies carving up the post-War world at Yalta or anything. One wonders if more energy isn’t being spent quietly negotiating with the Giants over the tribute the A’s and Major League Baseball will have to pay in order to resolve the San Jose territory rights issue so that things will go a lot smoother once the committee says “hey, we think the A’s need to move there.”
  • Today Selig will meet with his new special committee designed to look at replay, umpiring, pace of game, the postseason schedule and the like.  I’ve talked to a major league sources, and while no one knows exactly what’s going to come out of it, there is, generally speaking a lot of disagreement on the issues before the committee, and that because of it, the only thing they’d really count on happening is alteration of the playoff schedule.

I presume La Russa’s suggestion of a separate 25-man roster dedicated to relief pitchers will fall on mostly deaf ears.

Video: Jake Arrieta hits a 465-foot home run off of Zack Greinke

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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.

Luis Valbuena to miss four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring

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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.