The Phillies met with free agent outfielder Michael Cuddyer a few days ago in the City of Brotherly Love, giving him a tour of Citizens Bank Park and taking him out to a lunch attended by multiple front office officials. But their interest in signing him to a long-term contract is not as high as you might think.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe spoke this weekend to a source with knowledge of the Phillies’ offseason strategy. And that source said this:
“[Cuddyer is] about a middle priority. They’d love to have him, but the Phillies aren’t going to go crazy to make it happen, either.’’
In other words, that meet-and-greet was more of a feeler than anything. If Cuddyer’s market isn’t flush with suitors and his asking price drops, the Phillies might pounce and make him their new starting left fielder (and part-time first baseman). But for now they’re simply monitoring talks. Cuddyer, who turns 33 in March, batted .284/.346/.459 with 20 homers and 70 RBI in 584 plate appearances this past season for Minnesota.
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.