Royals decline $7.5 million option on Joakim Soria

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Joakim Soria missed the entire season following Tommy John elbow surgery and today the Royals declined their $7.5 million option on the once-elite closer, making him a free agent.

Soria will hit the open market after receiving a $750,000 buyout, although Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports that it’s possible the Royals will re-sign him at a lower salary.

Soria was one of the best relievers in baseball from 2007-2011, saving 160 games and throwing 315 innings with a 2.40 ERA and 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings. He may have to settle for an incentive-laden one-year contract, although if a team wants to take the risk of offering Soria a multi-year they could end up getting a huge bargain in the 28-year-old right-hander.

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.