Jacoby Ellsbury is ridiculous

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The Red Sox were supposed to have three MVP candidates, but it’s down to one now: Jacoby Ellsbury went 4-for-5 with his third homer in six games and four runs scored in Tuesday night’s takedown of the Blue Jays, raising his average to .321.

The 28-year-old Ellsbury is up to fifth in the AL in average, ninth with a .380 OBP and sixth with a .546 slugging percentage.  He’s second with 108 runs scored, ninth with 27 homers, ninth with 94 RBI and fourth with 36 steals.  He’s now tied with Gonzalez for the AL lead with 321 total bases.

Ellsbury is seven steals behind the Yankees’ Brett Gardner, so it doesn’t look like he’ll become the first player since Ty Cobb with the 1911 Tigers to lead his league in both total bases and steals.  However, he’s on pace to become the 18th player in major league history with at least 350 total bases and 30 steals and possibly the 10th to have that many total bases and 40 steals.  The last two with 350 total bases and 30 steals were Jimmy Rollins and Hanley Ramirez in 2007.  Alfonso Soriano actually did it three times: 2002, 2003 and 2006.

Ellsbury has been particularly amazing since the beginning of July, hitting .346/.403/.651 with 18 homers, 54 RBI and 53 runs scored in 63 games.   That’s be 47 homers, 139 RBI and 137 runs on a 162-game pace.

I don’t know if that makes him the AL MVP, but I think he’s joined Jose Bautista and Justin Verlander to form a trio that’s a clear notch above the rest of the pack.

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.