When the 2012 schedule came out the Reds and officials in Cincinnati were none too pleased. Why? Because in addition to not getting the first game of the season — which they used to all the time but haven’t for many years now — they weren’t even going to be playing on the whole first day that regular games were played. And what’s more, their first game was going to be on Good Friday, which city fathers feared would interfere with the parade and festivities that go on in the Queen City each Opening Day.
Well, that’s fixed. The Reds just announced that their first game will now be on Thursday, April 5th. That’s the day after the Marlins and Cardinals kick off the season in a prime time Wednesday night game. Seeing as though the Reds likewise open against the Marlins — Miami gets a one-game series to showcase their new joint — it means that they’ll be a bit more rested than their opposition.
But hey: the parade and parties have been saved.
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.