Jimmy Rollins has been linked to the Cardinals following Albert Pujols’ departure, but Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that they “would be reluctant to enter the bidding for Rollins” unless he backs off demands for a five-year deal.
Philadelphia is also said to be very much against the idea of giving Rollins a five-year commitment at age 33, so the shortstop changing his stance may be inevitable.
Allen Craig is expected to replace Pujols in St. Louis’ lineup, but he’ll likely miss at least the first month or two of the season following knee surgery and Goold writes that the Cardinals “have explored what the market is for outfielder Carlos Beltran.”
Beltran’s name has been connected to surprisingly few suitors this offseason, so if the price was right on a one- or two-year deal he’d be an excellent pickup for the Cardinals.
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.