Dice-K's beatdown begins

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A day after Dice-K declared the Red Sox’ training methods as the reason for his injuries
(no word on whether he blamed them for his second chin and inability to
throw a pitch down the middle), the team is striking back. And, as is
the custom in Boston, they’re doing it through the media. First, Tony Massarotti hits him,
relaying that the team is “downright angry” at him, and that “the truth
is that the Red Sox were tired of Matsuzaka’s high-maintenance act a
long time ago, but they kept their mouths shut and put up with it
because Matsuzaka won games.”

Then Dan Shaughnessy,
who has long been a trusted messenger for the Sox, says “the Sox are
steamed. Matsuzaka talked out of turn, infuriated his bosses and his
teammates, and unwittingly took the focus away from Hall of Famer Jim
Rice on the night the slugger’s number was retired . . . It is
reasonable to wonder if Matsuzaka will pitch again for the Sox this
season. Or ever.”

One wonders if Dice-K fully understands the influence the Boston
media has on what happens on that team (and what influence team
management has on the media). It’s slow season in Beantown. The Bruins
and Celtics are on hiatus and Patriots’ camp is not yet at full speed.
Between that and the Sox struggling of late, there is no way in hell
that someone who talks out of turn the way Matsusaka did yesterday
isn’t going to be the subject of an epic beatdown.

Side note to all of this — offered by longtime reader MooseinOhio:
“I wonder if Scott Boras will continue comparing Stephen Strasburg’s
contract demands to Dice-K’s as the evidence that is being put forth,
and will continue to be put forth, on how Boston overpaid for his
services continues to mount.”

Good point.

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.