Nate Robertson to sign minor league contract with Rangers

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According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the Rangers are set to sign left-hander Nate Robertson to a minor league contract. He will get an invite to spring training, where he’s expected to compete for a bullpen job.

Robertson, who averaged 31 starts with the Tigers from 2004-2008, hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2010 with the Phillies and Marlins. Now 35 years old, he posted an ugly 8.07 ERA and 20/8 K/BB ratio over 29 innings last season at the Triple-A level between the Cubs and Blue Jays. He also had a brief stint with the independent Wichita Wingnuts.

Robbie Ross may get a chance at a rotation spot if the Rangers don’t add another starter prior to spring training, so there could be an opening for a left-handed reliever. However, Robertson is a long shot candidate.

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.