Martin Perez’s rookie season impressed the Rangers enough that they’ve signed the 22-year-old left-hander to a long-term contract.
Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram reports that it’s a four-year deal worth $12.5 million in guaranteed money that also includes team options for 2018, 2019, and 2020. Perez was already under team control through 2018 anyway, so this pre-pays for the rest of his minimum-salaried and arbitration-eligible seasons while also giving the Rangers the ability to delay his free agency by two additional years.
It’s a lengthy commitment to a 22-year-old pitcher with all of 162 innings in the majors and Perez’s strikeout rate has been underwhelming since reaching Triple-A, but he’s long been considered one of the best pitching prospects in baseball and posted a 3.62 ERA in 20 starts as a rookie.
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.