ESPN is reporting that the Phillies are talking to John Maine. You’ll recall that he was non-tendered by the Mets. I guess not every pitcher the Phillies go after can be an ace. Although, given how stealthy Ruben Amaro has been this winter, this is probably just a cover story as he secretly plots to trade for Tulotizki, Sabathia and Pujols.
Maine was ineffective much of last year, probably because he was hurt. I say probably because his own pitching coach called him a “habitual liar” when it comes to his health. Really. He may have been hurt even when he said he wasn’t. He also tends to forget really, really important things from time to time.
A mixed bag, really.
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.