In bidding $2 million for exclusive negotiating rights to Hiroyuki Nakajima the Yankees were given a 30-day window in which to work out a contract with the Japanese infielder.
The deadline is January 6, so as Bryan Hoch of MLB.com writes: “One way or the other, Nakajima will be resolved next week.”
New York doesn’t have much of a role to offer Nakajima, but expectations for his performance are very low and he might fit best as a utility man anyway. There’s also been some speculation that they could work out a sign-and-trade with another team.
Hoch suggests that the Yankees are likely to put talks with Eric Chavez and other infielders on hold until they have an answer on Nakajima.
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.