Last week the Nationals indicated that they’re unlikely to call up Opening Day second baseman Danny Espinosa from the minors when rosters expand in September and now Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports that they’re “trying to trade” him.
Espinosa hit .158 in 44 games for the Nationals to earn the demotion and is hitting .208 with two homers and an awful 97/18 K/BB ratio in 70 games at Triple-A. That’s enough to make any player fall out of favor with an organization and the fact that rookie Anthony Rendon is now locked in as the starting second baseman makes it even less likely that Espinosa is part of the Nationals’ long-term plans.
Of course, teams probably aren’t lining up for a guy who’s looked as lost as Espinosa this season and there are also questions about the health of his shoulder. He’s making the minimum salary this season, is cheap enough to keep around in a part-time role next year, and is under team control through at least 2016, but Espinosa is a major reclamation project.
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.