Felix Hernandez is up to around 225 innings this year on a Mariners team that has been going nowhere since about five minutes after camp broke. As a result, the M’s are going to give him six days rest between starts for his next two starts. Which is a smart move. He’s the future, and the present is pretty meaningless for the Mariners.
Of course, this will likely put a bullet in his Cy Young hopes. It was already a tough road for King Felix, what with the fact that he’s not good enough to somehow force his teammates to score runs for him, but this makes it rougher. Not that it should. Even with CC Sabathia’s great outing last night and Hernandez’s not so great one his last time out, it would take a boatload of scoreless innings by the former and three or four straight implosions by the latter for the numbers which matter to begin to even out.
But, for a healthy number of writers with Cy Young votes, there’s the dramatic narrative to consider. That narrative today says “CC Sabathia pitched a gutsy eight shutout innings in a pennant race last night, and the next day we learn that the sabermetric darling needs extra rest.” If the win totals weren’t enough to persuade these guys to vote for Sabathia, the narrative almost certainly is.
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.