Scott Downs is not the biggest name around, but the Blue Jays’ setup man may be the best reliever available at the moment. And the Jays are apparently asking the moon for him: They told the Yankees it would take Joba Chamberlain and the Red Sox that it would take Casey Kelly or Jose Iglesias.
That’s kind of crazy, even to Yankees fans who are about ready to crucify Joba. Probably even to Yankees fans who don’t want to crucify him but don’t want him pitching in the eighth inning anymore either. I’m not convinced he’s hopeless — his strikeouts are high and his luck on balls in play has been awful — but even if you think so, why on Earth should the Yankees unload him now, when his perceived value is so low?
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.