It’s all just talk, not news, but over at the Providence Journal Brian MacPherson speculates that the Red Sox and Jonathan Papelbon may very well be together beyond 2011.
His thinking: there are a lot of relief pitchers who will be available this winter, which could depress Papelbon’s asking price on the open market. At the same time, Papelbon has been really good this year, reminding the Sox of just what they’ve had and what they might miss. Oh, and the Bobby Jenks flop is evidence that you can’t just go out and snag any old closer (and means that Jenks can’t really be counted on to step in and fill Papelbon’s shoes next year).
My mind goes kind of fuzzy whenever I think about the closer market simply because they are so volatile and because the talk surrounding closers is full of so much hokum (e.g. “proven closers” and all that jive). But MacPherson has me wondering whether what we all thought coming into this season — that Papelbon is gone — is really the case.
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.