St. Louis was initially targeting Sean Burnett as a left-handed bullpen addition, but after finding his price tag too high the Cardinals have moved on to Randy Choate.
Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports that Choate and the Cardinals have agreed to a deal and Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com says it’s for three years, which is very surprising for a 37-year-old.
Choate, unlike Burnett, is strictly a left-handed specialist rather than a left-handed setup man. In fact, in leading the league with 80 appearances this year he threw a grand total of just 36 innings.
He’s basically only good for a batter or two every other game and right-handed hitters tee off on him, but during the past three seasons Choate has limited left-handed hitters to a .173 batting average.
UPDATE: Choate is getting $7.5 million for three years, which is … well, more money and a longer commitment than anyone could have expected.
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.