SI.com’s Jon Heyman reported earlier this week that the Red Sox and Twins have serious interest in 26-year-old Japanese infielder and MLB free agent Tsuyoshi Nishioka. And now other teams are looking to join the fray.
From Patrick Newman’s NPB Tracker comes a couple of updates on the highly coveted Nishioka:
The Orioles fully intend to at least make a bid. The Mariners and Padres are also strongly considering making offers.
The Diamondbacks are out, worried that the price will be too high. The Giants aren’t going to send in a proposal either.
Nishioka won the batting title in Nippon Professional Baseball this past year and is hoping to cash in with a move state-side. Most MLB clubs view him as a second baseman rather than a shortstop, but that’s all case-by-case depending on individual needs.
Nishioka has expressed a desire to play on the West Coast, but he’ll probably chase the largest and most lucrative contract in the end.
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.