The Philadelphia Phillies took the top remaining free agent off the market on Sunday by signing starting pitcher Jake Arrieta to a 3-year, $75 Million deal. Arrieta will earn $30 Million (2018), $25 Million (2019), and $20 Million (2020) per year over the course of the deal, and he can opt out of his contract after the second year (2019). The deal additionally includes two options that can propel the amount of the deal between $125 Million and $135 Million.
Jake Arrieta turned his career around after his unsuccessful tenure with the Baltimore Orioles and turned himself into one of the top pitchers in the game. Arrieta won the National League CY Young Award in 2015, as well as helping the Cubs to their first World Series Championship in 108 years in 2016. The 34-year-old Jake Arrieta posted a 14-10 record in 2017 along with a 3.53 ERA, and a 163/55 strikeout/walk ratio in 168 1/3 innings for the Chicago Cubs. The frontrunners of late to sign Arrieta were the Washington Nationals, San Diego Padres, and, obviously, the Philidelphia Phillies.
The Philadelphia Phillies were coming off of their third consecutive 90+ loss season, and it was quite obvious that they would need to make things happen this offseason to at least be a somewhat watchable team for their starving fanbase. The Phillies were very aggressive this offseason with free agents and managed to sign first baseman Carlos Santana, as well as relief pitchers Pat Neshek, and Tommy Hunter. For the first time in a long time, especially with rising star rookie Rhys Hoskins and the acquisition of Jake Arrieta, the Phillies have a somewhat respectable team.
As far as the Phillies starting rotation is concerned, Aaron Nola has already been named Philidelphia’s Opening Day starter, so Arrieta will almost unquestionably be placed after Nola and before Jerad Eickhoff and Vince Velasquez. The Phillies also have pitchers Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, and Mark Leite all fighting for the number 5 spot in the starting rotation.
Philadelphia plays in the mediocre (with the exception of the Washington Nationals) National League East and will play most of their games against weaker competition, which will translate to a better record and while it is nothing more than a fantasy for Phillies fans that their team will make the playoffs, a third-place finish (in their division) would not be as surprising as it would last year. While Philly is still in the process of a rebuild, Jake Arrieta and the rest of their offseason acquisitions will make the process go by much quicker than formerly prognosticated.