Cincinnati was seemingly set at catcher with Ryan Hanigan and Devin Mesoraco, but Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Reds are close to signing Miguel Olivo.
Olivo has long been overrated by people who focus on his strong arm and 20-homer power rather than his historically awful on-base percentages and passed ball totals, so perhaps it’s just a minor-league deal for the 34-year-old and they aren’t going to send Mesoraco back to Triple-A.
Mesoraco had a disappointing rookie campaign, but his playing time was sporadic and he’s a 24-year-old former first-round pick one season removed from being a top prospect. Plus, in struggling he still posted a higher OPS than Olivo last season. And Hanigan played well as the primary starter last year, hitting .274 with a .365 on-base percentage.
UPDATE: Sure enough, it’s a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training. So any teeth gnashing over Mesoraco’s status can probably wait, at least a couple weeks.
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.