Dan Wheeler can be added to the list of free agent relievers, as the Red Sox declined their $3 million option on the 33-year-old right-hander.
Wheeler had a decent season as low-leverage bullpen arm in Boston, throwing 49 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 39/8 K/BB ratio. He has trouble keeping the ball in the ballpark and struggles versus left-handed pitching, but as a middle reliever spotted mostly versus righties he’s a nice role player.
He earned $3 million this season after signing with the Red Sox as a free agent following three-and-a-half years with the Rays.
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.