According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, the Dodgers have reached an agreement on a contract with Marcus Thames. No word on the specific terms involved, but the deal could be finalized by as soon as tomorrow.
Thames, who turns 34 in March, batted .288/.350/.491 with 12 home runs, 33 RBI and .841 OPS in 237 plate appearances with the Yankees last season. He’ll presumably be used as part of a platoon in left field, most likely with the left-handed hitting Jay Gibbons. Thames, a right-handed hitter, has thrived as a lefty-masher during his career, compiling a .264/.333/.505 batting line and an .838 OPS against southpaws.
The Dodgers had reportedly considered a plan that would have moved the recently-signed Tony Gwynn Jr. to center field, bumping Matt Kemp to right field and Andre Ethier to left field, but the addition of Thames signifies that they are now prepared to throw caution to the wind defensively.
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.