C.J. Wilson may be the most desirable starting pitcher on the free agent market this offseason and the Nationals will apparently be among the teams interested in the Rangers left-hander.
Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports that “the Nationals have sent a scout to Oakland to watch” Wilson tonight against the A’s and “it’s not a secret that Washington is looking to add starting pitching.”
Wilson logged 204 innings with a 3.35 ERA after talking his way into Texas’ rotation last year and this season he’s upped his strikeouts and cut his walks while throwing 215 innings with a 2.98 ERA.
At age 31 he’s still relatively young for someone hitting the open market and among all pitchers with at least 50 starts since the beginning of last season Wilson ranks 16th in ERA (3.16), sandwiched between fellow southpaws CC Sabathia (3.10) and Jon Lester (3.20), and he’s also 19th in FIP.
Wilson added to the mix along with Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann could give the Nationals a playoff-caliber front three of the rotation, but would it leave enough money to put together a playoff-caliber everything else?
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.