Lima Time! Irabu! Long Beach feels the excitement!

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Fun times in the independent leagues:

Consider
this week’s action at the port city’s historic little Blair Field, max
capacity 3,238. There, two enigmatic pitchers who once drank deeply the
major league good life were the main attractions for the Long Beach
Armada, a 5-year-old team in the independent Golden Baseball League. On
Friday, pitching in front of bleachers that were one-third empty, we
found Jose Lima, the former All-Star known for creating wherever he
goes a jocular, peppery, occasionally flaky and, to some, patently
offensive way of being: Lima Time . . . And Saturday’s pitcher? Yes,
that was 40-year-old Hideki Irabu.

A former big leaguer playing in the lowest of the bus leagues means one
of two things: (a) that the player has come to grips with the fact that
being paid to play baseball for a living is a privilege rather than a
right and will do anything to continue to do so; or (b) that he is
completely deluded as to his worth as a ballplayer and feels that this
is mere warm-up on the way back to the bigs.

At their heights, both Irabu and Lima were guys who carried
themselves as though they were entitled to pitch in the majors, so you
might guess that they both fall under (b). Only one appears to,
however, with the other quite content to simply fling a ball and enjoy
life. I’m not going to tell you which one is which, but I will say that
I was quite surprised.

Nick Williams has been trying to sell Jake Arrieta on the Phillies

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CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.

Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”

On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”

Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.

Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.