The “blame Theo” train gains steam

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David Pinto flagged this Jim Donaldson post over at the Projo Sox blog. After detailing the failings of John Lackey, he lets this point rip, building on a comment Buck Showalter made last spring about the Red Sox’ payroll advantages:

Showalter had a very good point — it would, indeed, be interesting to see how smart Theo would be with the Tampa Bay payroll. And how smart are the Cubs, who supposedly are interested in bringing Epstein to the Windy City to throw around their major-market money?

To sum up: the GM who has given the Red Sox it’s greatest era of success in a century if not ever is all hat and no cattle and it would be a big mistake for the Chicago Cubs — the Cubs! —  to try to hire him. And we know this because Buck freakin’ Showalter says so.

Personally, I’d love to hear how upset Cubs fans would be if Epstein were allowed to ruin their team the way he has ruined the Red Sox. I bet they’d have a different take on it.

Video: Jake Arrieta hits a 465-foot home run off of Zack Greinke

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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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.

Luis Valbuena to miss four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring

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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.