Just a few days ago general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. insisted that the Phillies have no plans to trade any significant pieces, including closer Jonathan Papelbon.
And yet today Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that “the Phillies believe there are at least three teams–Red Sox, Tigers, and Cardinals–that may have some interest in Papelbon at the trade deadline.”
“Believe” and “may have” in that sentence make it something less than a juicy rumor, but Cafardo adds that “it’s no secret the Phillies are scouting those teams with Papelbon in mind.”
Papelbon has been fantastic this season with a 1.46 ERA and 23/3 K/BB ratio in 25 innings,, although given that he’s under contract for $13 million in 2014 and $13 million in 2015–with a $13 million vesting option for 2016 that could easily be achieved–it’s hard to imagine teams lining up to acquire him, let alone offering any sort of significant prospects in return.
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.