Pirates defeat Garrett Jones in arbitration hearing

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Garrett Jones and the Pirates had an arbitration hearing yesterday and the three-person panel has ruled in favor of the team, meaning he’ll be paid $2.25 million this season instead of the $2.5 million he requested.

Going through with a hearing over a $250,000 gap is unusual, but Jones is arbitration eligible for the first time at age 30 and after a decade spent in the minors he may have wanted to squeeze out every cent he could. Or try to, at least.

Back when Jones was a minor leaguer in the Twins farm system he rarely produced like someone destined for the majors. He’s been better than expected, but has hit just .245 with a .312 on-base percentage and .422 slugging percentage in 306 games since his out-of-nowhere rookie campaign. Those are sub par numbers for a first baseman/corner outfielder and it’s hard to imagine the Pirates keeping him around next season with another big raise due.

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.