Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the St. Louis Cardinals are making a change to Busch Stadium.
The change: removing some seats in right field to create a party deck kind of area with bars and open spaces for fans to gather. Goold compares it to the open areas in Coors Field and Petco Park. The Tigers did this several years ago at Comerica Park too, with a large bar on an existing right field patio too.
These sorts of areas are pretty great in my experience, at least as long as they’re open to everyone and don’t serve as yet another VIP area. Which, Goold notes, is happily the case in St. Louis. These spaces are nice places to hang out and stretch your legs. It’s a good meetup place for friends who may have seats in different parts of the ballpark and want to connect. From the team’s perspective, yeah, it allows them to sell more standing room tickets, but for high demand games people want that option.
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.