Brett Tomko still drawing interest from half a dozen teams

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Zach Links of MLB Trade Rumors hears from a source that “about half a dozen teams” have expressed interest in free agent pitcher Brett Tomko. We learned a couple weeks ago that he plans to audition for teams this month in an attempt at a comeback as the 40-year-old right-hander hasn’t thrown a pitch in the big leagues since 2011 with the Rangers.

Tomko dealt with elbow and shoulder issues in 2008 and ’09. Since 2010, Tomko has mostly bounced around in the Minor Leagues, spending time in the systems of the Athletics, Rangers, Reds, and Diamondbacks. He spent 2013 with the York Revolution of the Atlantic League, posting a 4.98 ERA in 124.2 innings of work spanning 19 starts.

Links adds that Tomko is willing to take a Minor League deal. Further, he is willing to mentor young pitchers which will be one point in his favor as he attempts to find employment. He is also willing to pitch out of the bullpen if necessary.

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.