UPDATE: It’s a done deal now. Two years and $8.75 million, with a $5.75 million option for 2014.
Not having an owner isn’t stopping the Dodgers from spending money this offseason.
Matt Kemp’s eight-year, $160 million contract is all but finalized and now Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports that the Dodgers are “on the verge” of signing free agent second baseman Mark Ellis to a two-year contract.
According to Olney the deal is worth around $4.5 million per season, which is a big commitment for a 35-year-old who hit just .248 with a .288 on-base percentage and .346 slugging percentage in 132 games for the A’s and Rockies this season.
Ellis gets $1 million more per season than 38-year-old Jamey Carroll got from Minnesota last week, but Carroll is expected to play shortstop and is coming off the two best seasons of his career.
In his prime Ellis was an elite, underrated defender with a decent bat, but few players remain huge assets defensively beyond their mid-30s and Ellis has just 12 homers in 256 games during the past two seasons after posting double-digit homers every year from 2005-2009.
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.