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Report: Jake Arrieta expected to sign with a team this week

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Bob Nightengale of USA Today says that free agent right-hander Jake Arrieta is expected to sign with a team “in the next couple of days.” It sounds like several clubs are still in the mix, though the Phillies remain the frontrunner for Arrieta’s services. It’s not yet clear if the club has come around to the idea of a four- or five-year contract or if Arrieta has lowered his asking price in hopes of securing a deal before Opening Day.

Neither Arrieta nor fellow free agent right-hander Alex Cobb have found landing spots so far this spring. With the plethora of free agents signing short-term contracts for well under perceived market value, it seems fairly likely that both pitchers will be forced to adjust their initial expectations, either by signing long-term deals for less money or taking shorter deals with a higher average annual value. It doesn’t help, of course, that Opening Day looms just 18 days away, putting extra pressure on both players and teams to reach less-than-ideal arrangements sooner rather than later.

The Padres, Nationals and Phillies have all been connected to Arrieta over the last month or so, but no concrete offers seem to have materialized lately. Last week, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports observed that the Padres were having “internal discussions” about the 32-year-old right-hander, though he added that signing Arrieta might be a long shot as the club is reportedly looking for a bargain deal and already has a bevy of young pitchers to look at in camp. The Nationals aren’t thought to be seriously considering Arrieta either, especially after discussions with agent Scott Boras went south several months ago. That leaves the Phillies (and any other dark-horse candidates), who have both the cash and the roster space to make a deal work — assuming the two can find some middle ground, that is.

Mike Trout voted 2019 American League Most Valuable Player

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The Baseball Writers Association of America voted Angels outfielder Mike Trout the Most Valuable Player in the American League for the 2019 season. He received 17 of 30 first-place votes, earning the third AL MVP Award of his career.

Trout, 28, missed the final three weeks of the season due to a foot injury, but his numbers were still strong enough to overcome the competition. He led the majors with a .438 on-base percentage and a 185 adjusted OPS, and led the AL with a .645 slugging percentage and 1.083 OPS. He also slugged 45 home runs, knocked in 104 runs, scored 110 runs, and stole 11 bases in 600 plate appearances. FanGraphs also gave him an edge over the competition in WAR at 8.6.

Trout, who also won the award in 2014 and ’16, is the third Angel to snag the hardware, joining Don Baylor (1979) and Vladimir Guerrero Sr. (2004). He is the 11th player to win three MVP awards, joining Jimmie Foxx, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Álex Rodríguez, Stan Musial, Roy Campanella, Mike Schmidt, Albert Pujols, and Barry Bonds. Bonds is the only player to have won the award more than three times, winning a whopping seven MVP awards.

Alex Bregman finished in a close second place followed by Marcus  Semien, DJ LeMahieu, and Xander Bogaerts. Also receiving votes were Matt Chapman, George Springer, Mookie Betts, Nelson Cruz, Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander, Rafael Devers, Jorge Polanco, Austin Meadows, Francisco Lindor, Carlos Santana, Gleyber Torres, Eddie Rosario, José Abreu, Max Kepler, J.D. Martinez, Yoán Moncada, Charlie Morton, Matt Olson, and Jorge Soler.