General manager Kevin Towers got a lot of praise earlier this season when the Diamondbacks were in first place, but now that they’ve fallen well behind the Dodgers and nearly out of the playoff picture “blame” is a popular discussion topic in Arizona.
Here’s what the GM told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic:
People always wonder, who are you going to blame? Is it the manager? Is it the players? Is it the GM? To me, it’s the organization. It’s all of us. There’s areas where we could all be better. I’m sure there are things that [manager Kirk Gibson] could do differently, will do differently, to make him better. The players, same way. Myself, there’s probably moves or things that if I had to do it over again, I’d do it differently.
It’s worth noting that the Diamondbacks are 71-68, so it’s hardly been a disastrous season, and they’re on pace to be a handful of games better than last year. Still, the Dodgers’ amazing surge combined with the Diamondbacks going 41-44 since June 1 has the heat rising and Towers hasn’t said for certain that Gibson will be back in 2014.
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.