Yesterday afternoon reports had the Indians trying to sign either Mark Reynolds or Kevin Youkilis to be their new first baseman. Last night Reynolds accepted their one-year, $6 million offer, which is quite a bit less than Cleveland is said to have offered Youkilis and seemingly makes it much more likely that Youkilis will wind up in New York.
Jeff Bradley of the Newark Star Ledger writes that the Yankees have probably “inched closer” to signing Youkilis as a fill-in for Alex Rodriguez at third base. Previous reports had the Yankees offering him a one-year, $12 million deal and Youkilis’ agent said he was “strongly considering” the offer.
A few other teams have also been linked to Youkilis, so he certainly has some options beyond the Yankees, and Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes that it’s possible the Indians may still be interested in him even after signing Reynolds.
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.