This one went down right at the midnight deadline. Or maybe even after. But we’re not ones to tattle.
According to Jane Lee of MLB.com, the Red Sox have sent right-handed relief prospect Jason Rice to the A’s for outfield-first baseman Conor Jackson.
Jackson, 29, has batted just .249/.315/.342 with four home runs and 38 RBI in 368 plate appearances this season for Oakland. He doesn’t play great defense, but he has experience in right field, left field, and at first base and third. The Red Sox are expected to use him as a super utilityman down the stretch.
Rice, a 25-year-old former 11th-round draft pick, has posted a 3.69 ERA and 89/42 K/BB ratio in 85 1/3 innings this year at the Triple-A level. He doesn’t have great control, but his fastball velocity is strong and he has the potential to become a decent middle reliever if he can develop a secondary pitch.
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.