Every time Wily Mo Pena comes up I — and a lot of other people — get kind of excited because big long home runs and all-or-nothing kind of players like him are sort of neat on some weird level. It’s irrational, I know. It’s just one of those times when people who think like I do cast aside the “how valuable is this player, truly” thinking and just say “man, he’s fun!”
But Pena isn’t like to ever stick full time in the bigs. Just too many holes in his swing and no defensive value at all. Which is why it makes perfect sense that he told ESPN’s Dominican Republic radio station that he may play in Japan next year. The wording was that he may “accept a contract,” so it’s possible that he already has an offer.
Back to irrationality: I hope he hits 50 homers over there and is given some crazy/wonderful nickname by Japanese fans and never has to pay for a meal in Tokyo again.
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.