Mets and Twins reportedly front-runners for Ted Lilly

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Now that Cliff Lee is off the market contending teams in need of rotation help are turning their attention to pitchers like Ted Lilly.
He’s an impending free agent earning $12 million in the final season of a four-year, $40 million deal and Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports that Lilly “met with general manager Jim Hendry to discuss his future before Thursday night’s game with the Phillies.”
Hendry declined to comment about the meeting, while Lilly simply told Sullivan: “I don’t know if I have the right to discuss that. Write whatever you want.”
And so he did. Sullivan notes that “Hendry would like to keep Lilly, but he doesn’t know if the Cubs can meet his free agent demands in November so he has to consider getting something in return.” He also adds that the Mets and Twins are the most likely suitors for Lilly, which matches an earlier report from Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com in Minnesota.
While certainly not in Lee’s stratosphere, Lilly is 47-34 with a 3.75 ERA in 110 starts for the Cubs, including a 4.08 ERA in 97 innings this year. However, he finished the first half with back-to-back clunkers and because he’ll likely be a Type A free agent this offseason the Cubs can choose to simply take a pair of compensatory draft picks for letting him walk if they aren’t satisfied with any of the trade packages being offered.

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.