Last night we learned that the Orioles were awarded the claim on Twins left fielder Josh Willingham, giving them until Friday to work out a potential deal, and now they’ve claimed another right-handed bat.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Orioles were awarded the claim on Mariners left fielder Michael Morse, who’s similar to Willingham in that he’s terrible defensively and has good power. One key difference is that Morse is an impending free agent, whereas Willingham is signed for $7 million next season. And generally speaking Morse hasn’t been as good as Willingham, although they’ve both struggled with production and injuries this year.
Obviously the Orioles would like to add another bat for the stretch run and it’s a smart approach to claim multiple, similar hitters to give themselves some options if the demands for one prove too costly. Seattle could always pull back Morse and keep him, like they did with Kendrys Morales, although getting anything they can in return for him would seemingly be the easy call.
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.