Jim Leyland stepping down as Tigers manager led to some speculation that Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson could be an option to replace him in Detroit, where the Michigan native played 12 seasons.
However, team chief executive officer Derrick Hall told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that the Diamondbacks likely would not grant Gibson permission to interview with the Tigers, saying: “He’s not going anywhere.”
Gibson has certainly gotten plenty of criticism this season, several members of his coaching staff won’t return for 2014, and Piecoro reports that the Diamondbacks “recently declined contract options that would have locked up Gibson through 2016.”
So now he’s signed for just one more season, but Hall says Gibson “likes it here” and “is a loyal guy.” Of course, it’s probably too soon to know if the Tigers are actually interested in Gibson, which might change the situation quite a bit. They might need some grit in Detroit too, you know.
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.