Carlos Beltran has a qualifying offer on the table from the Cardinals, but he’s expected to decline the one-year, $14.1 million deal even if he wants to remain in St. Louis and now George King of the New York Post reports that the Red Sox are showing “strong interest” in the 36-year-old outfielder.
According to King–who, for whatever it’s worth, cites “a person who knows Beltran” as his source–the Red Sox could essentially try to replace Jacoby Ellsbury with Beltran, either by shifting Shane Victorino to center field or using Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field.
King also writes that the Yankees and Orioles are interested in Beltran, who hit .296 with 24 homers and an .830 OPS in 145 games for the Cardinals and posted very similar overall numbers for St. Louis in 2012 as well. Two years ago Beltran got a two-year, $26 million deal as a free agent and it sounds like he’ll do better at 36 than he did at 34.
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.