Five days ago the Red Sox claimed backup catcher Max Ramirez from the Rangers. They’d wanted him since a trade of Mike Lowell for him fell through last year. Guess they didn’t want him too bad, though, because they waived him today when they signed Hideki Okajima. The Cubs have now claimed Ramirez.
For anyone wanted to really plumb the depths of this move, please read McCovey Chronicles’ take on backup catchers from last week. Bonus: it was even about Max Ramirez. Their take on him, in a nutshell: even if he’s a highly sought-after backup, he’s fundamentally interchangeable with every other backup catcher out there over the course of 150 plate appearances or so. His quality only matters if he’s going to fill in for the starter for a long time. But, if your starter is someone as good as Buster Posey, your season is probably a lost cause anyway if he goes down, and that’s the case no matter how nice your backup is.
Geovany Soto isn’t as good as Buster Posey. But he’s good enough that, if he’s out for an extended time, the Cubs are kinda screwed. Whether the backup is Joe Schmo, Max Ramirez or the Molinas’ second cousin doesn’t really matter.
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.