Scenes from Spring Training: Where’s the press box again?

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I went down to the field to check out the Cubs’ BP.  As the pic suggests, it’s a damn fine day here in Mesa.  A little cold this morning, but it doesn’t take much sun to warm it up, and there is much sun today. Frank Lloyd Wright was right: wintering in Chicago is for suckers. I think he actually said it in those exact terms.

I got to the cage and Aramis Ramirez was dug in and taking his hacks. He utterly abused the scoreboard out beyond the left field wall.  A lot of guys were smacking it around.  The ball carries really well here of course.  I read that the Cubs’ new spring training home is going to have the exact dimensions of Wrigley Field. Not sure that’s wise, actually. A bunch of guys are gonna break north and wonder where all their power went.

The fella to the left is Tyler Colvin taking grounders at first base.  He’s an outfielder, but ever since Derrek Lee was shipped out last year there has been talk of Colvin being the long term solution at first (Carlos Pena is on a one-year deal).  For what it’s worth, Colvin looked pretty competent picking it at first. No idea what anyone who actually knows something about evaluating defense would think.

Got the lineup card. Cubs play the Brewers today. Sadly, no Prince Fielder. At first: Mark Kotsay. I am excited about third base, however, as Milwaukee has someone named Zelous Wheeler playing there. I’ve never seen a 19th century prospector and/or patriarch of a family involved in a blood feud play third.

Down on the field I met Chuck Wasserstrom, the Manager of Baseball Information for the Cubs. He gave me his business card and on it is his work address: 1060 West Addison. I had an immediate visceral reaction when I saw that, convinced that Wasserstrom was putting me on.  Then I remembered that this isn’t “The Blues Brothers” and, yes, people actually do work at that address.  File that under problems people who are around 37-years-old and watched too many movies growing up have.

I tend to get lost wandering around these ballparks. It’s not always easy for a newbie to find the clubhouse and it’s not always easy to find the press box.  The clubhouse was a bit tricky this morning, but they certainly erred on the side of clearly marking the press box here:

Game starts in about an hour.  Ho-ho-ho. Kam. And a happy new year. Or something.

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.