Cubs may be willing to eat half of Alfonso Soriano’s contract

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Via Gordon Wittenmyer of the Sun-Times:

Look for the Cubs to pick up more than half of Soriano’s remaining $54 million commitment (three years) if they can find a taker for the likable, glove-challenged outfielder who still has some pop to offer.

That’s more speculation than fact, but it’s a good indication nonetheless of how badly the new Cubs regime wants to get rid of Alfonso Soriano and his organization-bleeding contract. The 35-year-old batted just .244 with a .289 on-base percentage in 508 plate appearances this past year for Chicago while continuing to play poor defense in left field.

Look for Cubs president Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer to be active salesmen during this week’s Winter Meetings in Dallas, Texas. Even at a half-price discount, Soriano is not a very attractive piece.

Video: Jake Arrieta hits a 465-foot home run off of Zack Greinke

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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.

Luis Valbuena to miss four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring

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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.