Tim Brown of Yahoo! was the first one to get comments from Tom Schieffer following his appointment as the “Monitor” of the Dodgers’ organization. The former ambassador to Japan and Australia was asked about whether he’s up to the challenge of fixing the dysfunctional Dodgers:
“Oh, I’ve had some pretty difficult jobs before. Dealing with the North Koreans is generally a pretty tough day.”
I suppose it’s an open question as to whether the Dodgers’ kleptocracy or North Korea’s will be harder to fix.
One question that is also open, based on Schieffer’s comments, regards the future of Frank McCourt. I found this exchange pretty telling:
Asked if he believed the Dodgers could be restored with McCourt as the owner, Schieffer said he would not address particular issues.
“I’m not going to get into that,” he said. “We’ll see what happens as we go forward. I do hope my experience in management can help there.”
In other words, don’t print your business cards in bulk, Frank.
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.