A week ago, we talked about the Phillies showing interest in Jake Arrieta. While the team’s interest hasn’t waned in the week that’s come and gone since that report initially came out, Philadelphia is probably on high-alert now after a much bigger fish in the division has come poking around. In fact, it turns out that the current apex predator of the NL East food chain itself has decided to show interest in Arrieta, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today is reporting that the Nats are “monitoring” the market for him.
Even though money isn’t going to be a big issue for them, you easily could argue that the Phillies probably don’t need to sign a 31-year-old to a long-term deal while they’re still a couple of years away from being legitimate contenders again. You also could argue that the Nationals don’t necessarily need Jake Arrieta for themselves, since they’re in very good hands when it comes to their rotation. If all goes to plan, Washington should easily saunter into another divisional title, so it’s not like they’re only one arm away from the postseason.
However, this signing wouldn’t be about the dog days of Summer. This would be about giving their pitching staff enough depth to finally get over that metaphorical hump of actually winning a playoff series in the dramatic times of October. If you give the Nationals a rotation where Jake Arrieta would firmly be the third best hurler, then this would be a huge indication of their plans to go all-in during Bryce Harper’s final season under contract. There’s no guarantee that they’d get over the hump but you have to figure that signing Arrieta would go a long way towards making that dream a reality.
The Phillies might be chasing pitchers in the waterfalls but there are also signs that they could be sticking to the rivers and lakes that rebuilding teams are used to as well. According to Jon Morosi, Philadelphia has been in touch with Lance Lynn. You have to imagine that if they can’t somehow manage to Jake Arrieta’s camp to agree to a short-term deal, they’ll probably go all-in on trying to acquire Lynn.
Lynn had a solid season after losing all of 2016 due to Tommy John surgery, but at the same time he also falls in the category of “pitchers who the Phillies are apprehensive to give long-term deals to.” After all, even though is coming off of a decent season where he posted a 4.54 DRA with a 112 cFIP, the relatively recent Tommy John surgery is still a looming specter in that regard.
Still, if they do bring him in, he’d go a long way toward bringing stability to Philadelphia’s rotation. While the Nationals are utterly loaded, the Phillies definitely do not have that luxury at the moment. Lance Lynn might not be spectacular, but the Phillies would go for sure and steady at this point and once again, if they can get him on a short-term contract then it would be a bit of a coup for the currently-rebuilding franchise.
The Twins snuck under the radar this past week when they brought in Logan Morrison. This was despite the fact that they’re basically set at the positions that Morrison would play in the field, so he’s clearly being brought in as a DH. Still, he could have had a chance to play first base elsewhere, and one team who was reportedly willing to give him that opportunity was the Royals.
Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that the Royals made a legitimate effort to bring in the hometown kid, but Morrison decided that now was not the time to come back. You only need to take a quick glance at the PECOTA projections to see that the Royals are heading for a rough season, while the Twins could be in the conversation for another postseason berth. Morrison saw this and decided that he would be better off playing for a team that could make it to October than putting on the royal blue of his hometown club.
As a result of getting spurned, the Royals turned their attention to Lucas Duda and ended up signing him instead. While Duda himself has shown signs in the past that he could potentially put together a good offensive season of his own, he doesn’t exactly have the most upside in the world, and it probably would’ve been more interesting for them to bet on Logan Morrison repeating his breakout 2017. Instead Kansas City will have to take whatever Duda can give them as the halcyon days of 2015 are looking more and more distant in the rearview.
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