Some pretty significant news to pass along on this Christmas Eve afternoon.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, “all signs and top MLB sources” say that the Athletics will be granted permission by February to move to San Jose.
Of course, the A’s efforts to move have been stonewalled since 2009 so that a Bud Selig-appointed committee could study the matter. The Giants own the territorial rights to San Jose and have been reluctant to give them up until now.
While Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reported last month that Selig planned to address the issue with the Giants within two weeks, he reported last night that the meeting has yet to take place. However, Nightengale indicates that the matter may be put up to a vote among MLB owners.
The Athletics are in the midst of their latest rebuilding effort, trading Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez for prospects over the past couple of weeks. The club has already purchased land in San Jose and co-owner Lew Wolff has indicated that a new ballpark could be open for business within 30-36 months once they are given approval by MLB.
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.