Mike Schmidt — the baseball player, not the New York Times reporter — has a column today in which he questions the wisdom of the Washington Nats’ deal with Jayson Werth.
I question the wisdom of it too, as do a lot of people. But what is striking about Schmidt’s criticism is that it’s based on Werth being a “young man” with “potential” who is “in his growth stage.” Of course, Jayson Werth will be 32 next season. Almost everyone else who has criticized the deal has done so on the basis that he’s too old to be given seven years. So, yeah, this one is a bit different.
I will say, though, Schmidt’s use of one phrase has to give Nats’ fans the willies:
Jayson now will be the man, the cleanup hitter with the burden of production, far surpassing anything he has experienced.
That’s rather stark, and for as obvious as it is, I hadn’t thought of it in those terms since the signing. The notion of Werth being your best player — which, if the Nats don’t lock up Ryan Zimmerman, he may one day be — is kind of sobering. The young kid stuff aside, I agree with Schmidt that having so much riding on Jayson Werth is a bit scary.
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.