Scott Hairston has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Mets, according to Ted Berg of SportsNet New York (and later confirmed by Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com).
Hairston managing only a minor-league deal is surprising, because while he’s been overmatched as an everyday player he’d be an excellent fit for any number of teams as a platoon starter versus left-handed pitching, against whom he’s hit .280 with 18 homers and an .839 OPS in 375 at-bats during the past three seasons despite calling pitcher-friendly ballparks home.
He’s also a solid defensive corner outfielder with experience in center field as well as second base, making him an ideal bench player. Very nice low-cost pickup for the Mets and a head-scratcher for the half-dozen other teams that could use a part-time lefty masher.
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.