Let us first stipulate that, yeah, it’s probably way too early for free agent rumors. So much happens between now and when guys file that it’s kinda silly for anyone to put too much stock in the various whispers out there. But hey: if people can spend all day arguing that wins are what makes a pitcher great, I can engage in some irresponsible rumor mongering too, right?
This one is fun: Buster Olney says that the Orioles may go after Victor Martinez “in a combo 1B-C-DH/leader type of role.”
Who knows if it would happen, but I think it’s not a terrible idea. They have no first baseman to speak of for 2011. I’m assuming they’ll keep Luke Scott around to DH next year — he’s arbitration eligible and will get a raise — but he can play a corner if need be, and of course Matt Wieters could use an occasional rest. Martinez’s defensive flexibility could allow Buck Showalter to do a lot of things.
I know that the first thing most people say when they talk about fixing the Orioles is to work on pitching, but they’re 13th in the AL in both runs scored and runs allowed (and the pitching has been better in recent weeks). Improvement in any capacity would be a good thing.
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.