More from the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo.
The Yankees and Rangers are locked in a battle for left-hander Cliff Lee, this offseason’s top free agent. And it sounds like the Yanks may strike first with an offer.
Cafardo reports that Brian Cashman and Co. are preparing a proposal worth around $115 million-$120 million over five years. The Rangers plan to match that and the numbers will go up from there. Cafardo says that the Nationals are also in the hunt and have been “aggressive” thus far, but this feels like a two-team race.
Lee, 32, registered a 3.18 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over 28 starts for the AL Champion Rangers this year, fanning 185 batters while walking only 18. There was a report in mid-November that Lee dislikes the Texas heat. And then there was that issue with Yankees fans harassing Lee’s wife during the ALCS. Believe what you want, but we’re thinking he’s simply going to chase the most lucrative deal.
For reference, CC Sabathia landed a seven-year, $161 million deal from the Yanks two offseasons ago.
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.