MacPhail Denies Urge to Splurge

If you were hoping that Jake Arrieta or another high-risk, high-reward free agent starter was going to be joining the team, you may want to prepare for a letdown. Team president Andy MacPhail held somewhat of a state of the team press conference Friday to discuss various subjects. One of the key points was that he doesn’t see the team splurging on a high-priced starter; or any other high-priced player for that matter.

“There are some guys out there that would help any team. It’s just a function of where you are, who you are, and where you think you are in that process and what you’re trying to do,” explained MacPhail. “The other mistake people make is that this isn’t the only chance you’ll have to improve your team. There are opportunities that are always evolving. We just need to stay on top of those and understand what they are.”

The Phillies currently have eight pitchers competing for rotation spots. Aaron Nola is a lock, with Jerad Eickhoff and Vince Velasquez near locks. That leaves Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, Ben Lively, Nick Pivetta and Jake Thompson to battle for two spots. It was thought that ideally, those five would be battling for one spot and a veteran starter – acquired either through free agency or a trade – would hold down the other spot in the rotation. If you’re to believe MacPhail, that’s not going to happen.

Some hopes of seeing Arrieta in Phillies red sprang up when word that he spent the offseason training with outfielder Nick Williams. The two struck a friendship up and it was hoped that maybe that would lead to Arrieta entertaining an interest in pitching in Philadelphia. According to Williams, he didn’t push the idea, but did give Arrieta glowing reviews of the young players and the clubhouse atmosphere that the Phillies have.

Chuck Hixson

Chuck has a wide and varied background in covering sports both locally and nationally. Living in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania, Chuck has the distinction of being the only person to have covered both the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and Lehigh Valley Phantoms in every season of their existence. Chuck began covering sports in 1998 when he was the first program director and morning host at WTKZ-AM in Allentown, Pennsylvania when the station switched to an all sports format. Chuck produced the stations coverage of the Allentown Ambassadors baseball team, which played in the independent Northeast League. From there, Chuck was the editor and writer of Pinstripes magazine, covering Phillies baseball. That led to Chuck founding Philly Baseball Insider in 2003. Chuck has done freelance work for national entities such as USA TODAY, CBS, FOX Sports, Washington Times and others.

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