The July 31 non-waiver trade deadline is over a month away, but the winds of change are already blowing.
According to Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune, scouts from the Orioles, Phillies and Blue Jays were in attendance at Petco Park for Edinson Volquez’s start on Saturday night against the Dodgers. The Royals also had a scout in the building, but Center suspects that he was looking into either a corner outfielder or middle infielder.
Volquez went 5 2/3 innings against Los Angeles, yielding five runs — two earned — on two hits and seven walks. He has a disappointing 5.67 ERA and 1.60 WHIP in 16 total starts this season.
The right-hander is scheduled to become a free agent this winter. He’s making $5.725 million in 2013.
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.