Following news that the Yankees placed the winning bid for exclusive negotiating rights to Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch passed along this scouting report:
Heard Nakajima’s bat could be better than Twins’ Nishioka, but not as good a fielder.
“Nishioka” would be Tsuyoshi Nishioka.
So that opinion suggests Nakajima’s bat “could be better than” a guy who hit .226 with zero homers and a .527 OPS. And he’s “not as good a fielder” as a guy who broke his leg playing second base largely because he didn’t know how to properly turn a double play and was completely overmatched when switched to shortstop.
The good news is that the Yankees reportedly bid only $2 million for Nakajima, whereas the Twins bid $9 million for Nishioka as part of a $15 million total commitment.
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.