Yesterday news broke that A.J. Burnett plans to pitch in 2014 and isn’t necessarily committed to re-signing with the Pirates, which opens the door for other contenders to make a last-minute run at the 37-year-old who was one of the NL’s best pitchers last season.
Baltimore was immediately mentioned as a potential landing spot because Burnett lives in Maryland and now Peter Gammons of MLB Network reports that the Orioles are “all in on Burnett.” (Presumably they won’t care so much about his nipple rings and tattoos this time around.)
Gammons also mentions the Rays as potential Burnett suitors, which is certainly interesting considering their general lack of spending. And the odds of Pittsburgh out-bidding teams for Burnett on the open market seem slimmer and slimmer.
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.