Thursdays quick hits – Big Hurt update

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Frank Thomas told ESPN radio Thursday that he’s still open to playing again, but that he getting closer to announcing his retirement.

Thomas isn’t expecting anyone to come knocking on his door now that we’re three months into the season.

“That percent right now is probably about five percent, since we’re so
deep into the season now,” Thomas said on ESPN 1000. “But I’m still in
shape, ready to go, if anything happens.”

Despite saying earlier in the week that he’d remain in the
rotation for now, the Pirates demoted Ian Snell to Triple-A on
Thursday, apparently at his request.

Snell had turned in three straight quality starts before struggling in
2 2/3 innings against the Indians on Tuesday. It sounds like Snell
might be at least as fatigued mentally as physically, though his
velocity has been down for most of the year and his slider just isn’t
breaking like it used to. He’s always had question marks in that area,
though. Whether it’s a lack of drive or confidence or intelligence, I’m
not sure, but it’s his arm that made him a major leaguer, not his head.

The Mariners have lost shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt to the 15-day disabled list because of a hamstring strain.

Is it a loss, even if his backup is hitting .128? Ronny Cedeno has
been a complete bust offensively while seeing more playing time of
late, but he has the same sort of offensive potential as Betancourt and
he is the better defender. The Mariners may well be better off.

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.