Yadier Molina and Cardinals moving closer to extension

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Yesterday the Cardinals were said to have “re-engaged” in contract talks with Yadier Molina after negotiations were previously tabled and now Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the two sides could be nearing a deal.

According to Strauss “movement on Molina is significant enough that source familiar with the situation believes agreement could be reached within a week.”

Last night our own Matthew Pouliot crunched some numbers on recent catcher contracts and speculated that $44 million over four years could be a reasonable fit. That may not seem like a mega-contract, but it would actually be one of the five largest deals ever for a catcher.

Molina is heading into the final season of a five-year, $21.75 million deal and coming off a career-year at age 28.

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.