Yankees add veteran catcher Rivera to compete for backup job

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Francisco Cervelli is seemingly the favorite to replace free agent Jose Molina as Jorge Posada’s backup, but the Yankees have brought in some veteran competition in the form of Mike Rivera.
Rivera spent last season backing up Jason Kendall in Milwaukee, drawing a grand total of just 31 starts while hitting .228/.326/.346. He’s shown more pop than that in the past, hitting .276/.338/.465 with nine homers and 14 doubles in 242 plate appearances from 2006-2008, and also averaged 26 homers per 500 at-bats in various stints at Triple-A.
He’s also 33 years old and not especially strong defensively, which is why Rivera could manage only a minor-league deal and Cervelli remains the favorite to be Posada’s caddy in 2010. Cervelli held his own in 101 plate appearances with the Yankees last season, hitting .298/.309/.372 as a 23-year-old rookie, and projects as a solid on-base threat after hitting .273/.367/.380 in the minors.

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.