Atlanta has exercised its options on catcher Brian McCann, right-hander Tim Hudson, and left-hander Paul Maholm, bringing all three players back for 2013 at a combined cost of $27.5 million.
McCann faded badly in the second half and was benched in the Wild Card playoff game, but it would have been tough for the Braves to justify cutting loose a 28-year-old six-time All-Star over $12 million.
Hudson at $9 million and Maholm at $6.5 million were no-brainers, and the Braves acquired Maholm from the Cubs with the idea that he’d be around for more than just a few months.
Hudson is 37 years old, but has thrown 665 innings with a 3.22 ERA since returning from Tommy John elbow surgery in mid-2009, including a 3.62 ERA in 179 innings this year. Maholm posted a 3.54 ERA in 11 starts for the Braves after coming over in a July 30 deal for Jaye Chapman and Arodys Vizcaino.
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.