Oliver Perez worked in the Mexican League this winter and he showed up early to spring training. Didn’t help, though, as he made his spring training debut against the Braves over the weekend and gave up four runs in two innings, walked three guys and only got the ball up to 86 m.p.h. Once, that is. Most of the time his fastball was in the low-to-mid 80s.
No, you shouldn’t make too much of spring training stats, but Perez has way more riding on his spring training than anyone in Mets camp, so he needed to be more effective than the guys who are able to give the standard “I was just workin’ on stuff” excuse.
But there is a bright side: if Perez had come out throwing bullets this spring, the Mets would have to give some serious consideration to placing him in an actual role coming out of camp. If he continues to stink up the joint, however, cutting him loose will be way easier.
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.