About once I year I link to a story about some plan in a non-MLB town to lure a baseball team. The plan is almost always a pipe dream and there’s always a fatal flaw. Then, in the comments, someone says that it’s a no-brainer to move a team to Las Vegas. Then I write a post explaining why I think Las Vegas is a horrible idea for a major league team. Then we go round and round.
Maury Brown has a post up at Baseball Prospectus today that should save us all some time. In it he ranks the top potential destinations for a relocating major league team, listing the stats, the pros and the cons. It’s a pretty comprehensive list of candidates.
And guess what: Las Vegas isn’t at the top. Guess what else: the only truly workable one — as I’ve noted before — is the New York metro area, and that’s not really workable given MLB’s anti-competitive territory system. So it really doesn’t look like there are any great landing spots.
But at least with Maury’s piece we now have a good one-stop resource for our arguing purposes.
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.