In the wake of Josh Hamilton’s five-year, $125 million deal with the Angels a report from Greg Johns of MLB.com suggests a different AL West rival was close to signing him away from the Rangers.
According to Johns the Mariners “were in the hunt to the end” on Hamilton and “were willing to go after him full bore on a shorter deal.”
He doesn’t get into any specifics in terms of money or years, so it’s tough to say how close they actually were to signing Hamilton, or even if their offer beat the Rangers’ offer to re-sign the former MVP.
Still, it’s interesting because it means a) the Mariners were willing to spend a whole bunch of money on a veteran hitter, and b) they may have a whole bunch of money available to offer other free agents like Nick Swisher or Michael Bourn or Cody Ross.
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.