The Red Sox have been linked in recent weeks to free agent first baseman Adam LaRoche. But it sounds like he is merely being used as leverage while the Boston decision-makers attempt to work out a hip injury clause in their yet-to-be-finalized three-year, $39 million contract with Mike Napoli.
According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Red Sox are keeping LaRoche in their sights but “really don’t want to give up a draft pick to sign him.”
LaRoche rejected a one-year, $13.3 million qualifying offer from the Nationals in November, so Washington will get draft pick compensation if he heads to another team this winter. From the Red Sox, it would be a second-rounder in 2013. Napoli, for some reason, was not tendered a qualifying offer from the Rangers.
LaRoche batted .271/.343/.510 with 33 home runs and 100 RBI in 154 games this past season for the Nats. The 33-year-old also earned Gold Glove honors for his exceptional defense around the first base bag.
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.