Excuse me while I file this under most predictable trade rumor of all-time (via Bob Nightengale of USA Today):
The Yankees are keeping a close eye on Twins starter Francisco Liriano, while Twins are keeping tabs on Yanks prospects.
The trade winds began to blow earlier this month, when Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune wrote that the Twins don’t plan to sign Liriano to a long-term deal and that they were open to exploring a trade. Speculation about the Yankees began almost immediately following Christensen’s report, so to hear that they have legitimate interest in the 27-year-old left-hander shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.
While I can’t quite wrap my head around why the Twins would want to trade Liriano, who remains under team control through 2012, I wouldn’t blame them for looking for the best possible deal. Still, it would sting to see Liriano dealt to a team that has swept the Twins in consecutive postseasons.
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.