Despite solid spring showing, Mariners option Jesus Montero to Triple-A

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Shannon Drayer of 710 ESPN Seattle reports that Jesus Montero was one of several players optioned to Triple-A Tacoma on Friday. It’s not surprising even though Montero was swinging the bat well in spring training. The former top prospect in the Yankees’ system was slashing .310/.355/.621 with two home runs.

Montero showed up to camp 40 pounds overweight, which did not go over well with GM Jack Zduriencik. The embattled GM said of the embattled catcher, “I have zero expectations for Jesus Montero. Any expectations I had are gone.”

Since joining the Mariners, Montero has posted a .669 OPS in 663 at-bats at the big league level. He tore his meniscus last year, missing just over a month between late May and early July. He was later suspended 50 games for his role in the Biogenesis scandal.

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.