Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com has the scoop:
The Mets clandestinely met with free-agent shortstop Jhonny Peralta, according to league sources.
No Mets person would admit there was a meeting with Peralta, but sources on other teams said he did meet with them.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post was told by a Mets executive Wednesday night that Peralta just happened to be in the same town as this week’s GM meetings — Orlando, Florida — and that the Mets’ plan is to meet face-to-face with all of the players they’re interested in acquiring this offseason. That executive said “not to put big stock” in this one specific meeting.
The Mets aren’t satisfied with the production of current shortstop Ruben Tejada, who hit .202/.259/.260 with zero home runs and 10 RBI in 227 plate appearances this year. The 24-year-old could be moved to second base or relegated to a bench role if the Mets are able to make some infield upgrades this winter.
Peralta, 31, batted .303/.358/.457 with 11 home runs and 55 RBI across 448 plate appearances this summer for Detroit. He was hit with a 50-game performance-enhancing drug suspension in early August.
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.