In order to receive a compensatory draft pick for Alex Gonzalez signing elsewhere the Braves would first have to offer him arbitration, but the team announced today that they’ve decided not to risk the free agent shortstop accepting and locking them into a one-year deal.
That means the Braves pass up the chance for a draft pick and Gonzalez is all but certain to be on another team in 2012, which isn’t a surprise after the 35-year-old hit just .241 with a .270 on-base percentage and .372 slugging percentage in 149 games.
David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Gonzalez is looking for a two-year contract and it’s tough to blame him after seeing Jamey Carroll, Mark Ellis, and Clint Barmes get two-year deals, but given his age and inept offense a one-year pact (and possibly a part-time role) seems more likely.
Atlanta doesn’t have an obvious in-house replacement unless they choose to rush a prospect, so the Braves figure to be in the market for a veteran shortstop.
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.