In which I “express interest” in Cliff Lee

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Ken Rosenthal reports that “7-8 teams” have expressed interest already in free agent left-hander Cliff Lee.  I’m interested in Cliff Lee too — he’s a good pitcher and I’m going to have to write about him for the next several years, after all — so let’s make it “7-8 teams + one blogger.”  You can play that game all day if you want to, because no one has defined what “expressed interest” really means in a baseball context.

The fact is, the “expressed interest” rumor is about as baseline as it gets during the free agency season. It’s more respectable than reports of “internal discussions” or “kicking the tires” because those things imply that the team hasn’t even made a freakin’ phone call (I’ve had internal discussions about the divorcee that moved in across the street from me last month, but sources say that’s not going to get beyond the kicking the tires stage due to roster limitations), but it’s not an offer. And really, until there are offers all of this is so much chatter.  Like I said the other day, we blog about even the chatter because we think that provides a service, but let us not go crazy about this sort of thing.

Anyway, for those of you who care about such things, Intrade currently has the Yankees as big favorites for Cliff Lee’s services, the Rangers next, the Mets and Nationals making the radar screen, and “field” doing pretty darn well.  I don’t know that, absent any news of an actual offer, any of us can do any better than 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.