Charlie Manuel and the Phillies are “close to agreeing on a contract extension” that Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports will be worth “between $3.5 million and $4 million per season” for two years.
Manuel is already under contract for $2.4 million this season, so a two-year extension would keep the 67-year-old managing the Phillies through 2013.
Salisbury notes that “negotiations have ebbed and flowed for weeks” and speculates that an official announcement could come within the next few days.
In seven seasons under Manuel the Phillies are 544-428 (.560) with four straight NL East championships, two NL pennants, and a World Series title in 2008. Toss in his three-year stint as Indians manager and Manuel’s career .553 winning percentage is the 20th-highest in MLB history among all managers with at least 1,200 games.
Not bad for a guy the Indians fired midway through his third year after back-to-back 90-win seasons. Cleveland hasn’t had back-to-back winning seasons since and has topped 90 wins just twice in eight post-Manuel years.
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.