Terry Francona to St. Louis would be a fit

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Excluding the job in Boston he just vacated, there’s only one current managerial opening for Terry
Francona. The White Sox, though, aren’t believed to be all that interested, in large part because Francona is sure to want to remain one of the game’s highest-paid managers (and deservedly so).

So, where to for Terry? The North Side of Chicago with the Cubs could be an option, depending on whom they hire as a general manager. It seems likely that the replacement for Jim Hendry there will want to make a change from Mike Quade.

But I think there’s another possibility. There’s been plenty of speculation that 67-year-old Tony La Russa could retire in St. Louis.  Some have even suggested he might like to finish his career back with the White Sox (the team he managed from 1979-1986).  La Russa, like Francona, is finishing up his latest contract, so he wouldn’t have to resign or get fired.

And if La Russa leaves, Francona to St. Louis seems like a perfect match. The Cardinals are used to having one of the game’s highest-paid managers, so spending $4 million per year on Francona isn’t a stretch, and Francona is pretty much the perfect manager to take over a contender and keep it contending.  Even if they lose Albert Pujols this winter, the Cards would still very much be a threat in the NL Central.

So, it’s a possibility, even if it’s more likely at this point that La Russa will stay another year. Which could mean that Francona will go into broadcasting for a bit and wait for another glamour job to open up.

Anyway, here’s Terry in his own words from Friday evening’s press conference.

 

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.