Indians CEO Paul Dolan sat down with Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer and talked about how the season just went off the rails. And he didn’t mince words:
“That was probably the most disappointing stretch of baseball in our tenure [as owners],” Dolan said. “It was so dismal. It changed the entire season. We had an opportunity to make up some ground in attendance. We were set up for a drive for the playoffs … I have never seen a season unravel like that in such a short stretch,” Dolan added. “Our pitching just collapsed. It was so painful.”
He went on to give votes of confidence to Manny Acta and GM Chris Antonetti. But he also noted that the financial state of the team is “not particularly good,” and saying “[w]e had budgeted a substantial loss for this year. It is likely to be greater than we expected.” But noted that payroll for next year will be about the same and that “we can handle it.”
Just a dreary time to be an Indians fan.
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.