Shane Victorino is coming off his worst season in the majors, but that hasn’t stopped teams from expressing interest in the free agent outfielder.
Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that Victorino is “on the radar” for the Red Sox, Rangers, Indians and Reds, among other teams in the market for outfield help.
Victorino, who turns 32 later this month, batted .255/.321/.383 with 11 home runs and 55 RBI, 39 stolen bases and a career-low .704 OPS in 154 games this season between the Phillies and Dodgers. While he had a steep and sudden decline from his career-high .847 OPS from last year, Crasnick speculates that he’ll draw interest due to his track record, his experience in big markets and his ability to play all three outfield positions. He also has a penchant for making wonderful GIFs for the whole world to enjoy.
Victorino is in the second tier of free agent center fielders along with Angel Pagan. Both players could function as fallback options for teams who are unable to sign or are uncomfortable with the asking price for the likes of Josh Hamilton, Michael Bourn, B.J. Upton and Torii Hunter.
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.