Could Carl Crawford soon be trade bait?

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3410.jpgThat’s what Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe is hearing:

The feeling is that if the Rays’ financial picture gets any gloomier,
Crawford will be trade bait by the trading deadline or even earlier. In
fact, both he and Carlos Pena could have new addresses at some point in the season.

This really shouldn’t surprise anyone. The 28-year-old Crawford — who had his $10 million option picked up by the Rays in November — is on the verge of hitting free agency for the first time. General manager Andrew Friedman has expressed a desire to lock Crawford up with an extension, but knowing that he could receive a contract equal to, if not better than what Chone Figgins and Jason Bay found this winter, it would be a surprise to see him take a discount.

The loss of Crawford would be a blow, both for his contributions on offense and defense, but fortunately the Rays have 23-year-old outfielder Desmond Jennings quickly rising through their minor league system. There’s many who say he’s ready to contribute at a high level in the major leagues right now, so while I wouldn’t expect Friedman to operate with any particular timetable in mind, it would be an easier sell to the fan base if they were looking up at the Red Sox and Yankees in July.
 

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.