Rickie Weeks now leads NL second basemen in All-Star balloting

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The last update in National League All-Star voting before the final results are announced on Sunday just hit the wires. Here’s where it stands:

C: Brian McCann
1B: Albert Pujols
2B: Rickie Weeks
3B: Placido Polanco
SS: Troy Tulowitzki
OF: Ryan Braun
OF: Lance Berkman
OF: Matt Holliday

Of note is the fact that Weeks has passed Brandon Phillips for the first time and leads him by fewer than 80,000 votes. Prince Fielder is second in first base voting, moving ahead of Joey Votto and thus likely to start given Pujols’ unavailability. Jose Reyes continues to get boned at shortstop. Stupid Mountain Time Zone bias.

If form holds — and if the MLB PR people don’t bust a gut laughing as they try to put together a response to Frank McCourt’s bankruptcy filing — we’ll get the penultimate AL voting results tomorrow.

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.