Sometimes I get nostalgic for the winter of 2009-10. It was a simpler time. Bert Blyleven wasn’t a Hall of Famer, people thought that the Mariners won the Milton Bradley-Carlos Silva trade and every other post on HardballTalk was about Johnny Damon. Let’s relive that for a moment, shall we?
The Blue Jays avoided salary arbitration with outfielder Rajai Davis on Tuesday, signing him to a two-year, $5.75 million contract. However, the team continues to explore other leadoff options, including free agents Scott Podsednik and Johnny Damon, major league sources say.
Damon is a lefty, which would help the Jays. Rosenthal notes that he’s not a base-stealing threat any longer, but that may not be too big a deal for Toronto given that their offense is built on hitting approximately eleventy-billion home runs. Damon can still get on base at a passable clip, so he may fit nicely.
There’s no sense that anything is imminent here and Rosenthal mentions that the Angels may still be interested in both Damon and Podsednik too, and this morning he tweeted about maybe the Yankees taking a look at him. Still, it’s fun talking about Damon again. I hope a frenzy is created. I have about two dozen posts about him in the can that I’m sure I could repurpose if I had to.
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.