With Justin Upton circulating in trade rumors once again, many have speculated that the Rangers could be a perfect fit. We’re still in the early days of the Hot Stove, so things could change in a hurry, but a deal appears unlikely right now.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Rangers aren’t willing to include Elvis Andrus or top prospect Jurickson Profar in a swap for Upton. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported this morning that the Diamondbacks don’t love Mike Olt as a centerpiece of a deal and would prefer Andrus or Profar, so unless somebody eventually blinks, the two clubs won’t be a match.
Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic caught up with Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers tonight, who said that he’s in “no rush” to make a deal and doesn’t expect to make a trade for a frontline starting pitcher, “even in an Upton deal.” This would seem to indicate that he’s targeting a third baseman or shortstop.
Upton, 25, is set to earn $9.75 million in 2013, $14.25 million in 2014, and $14.5 million in 2015. Andrus, 24, will earn $4.8 million next season and $6.475 million in 2014 before hitting free agency.
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.