Does any GM have the guts to take a chance on Manny Ramirez?

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Manny
is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment this week, which means he should be activated and will return to the Dodgers before the August 31st waiver deal deadline. And if he’s back, you can bet the Dodgers will place him on waivers (as Ken Rosenthal and Buster Olney both note today).  So: anyone gonna claim him?

Ramirez is still owed about $3-5
million for the rest of this season. His rate stats for the year are good, and as everyone knows, a motivated Manny has the potential to be a difference maker. Still, I think the odds favor Ramirez clearing waivers and being dealt to a team that is willing to have him, but not his entire salary.

My thinking: despite the upside, standard business politics are going to win the day here, and the politics of the situation go like this: no GM is going to be blamed for not taking an available Manny Ramirez. Many GMs won’t be blamed for taking Manny Ramirez at a discount. Almost any GM, however, will set himself up for massive criticism if he takes a full-price Manny Ramirez on waivers and the move results in anything less than a playoff berth.

There’s just too much baggage with Ramirez anymore. He’s the kind of guy that can get someone fired. And no one is going to risk that.

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

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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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

Kent Horner/Getty Images
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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.