For weeks, everyone in the baseball world had one question:
WHAT IS GOING ON WITH JAKE ARRIETA?!?
After a long winter with spring on the horizon, we have our answer. The Phillies have got their man. Jake Arrieta has signed a 3-year deal worth $75 million with the Philadelphia Phillies. According to MLB insider Jon Heyman the deal is front-loaded with Arrieta making $30 mill in 2018, $25 mill in 2019, and $20 mill in 2020. He can opt out after 2019, but the Phillies can void the opt-out with a two year extension starting at $20 mill a year which can go up to $30 mill based on games started and Cy Young awards. The reason it took this long for Arrieta to sign was the clogged free agent class. Clubs weren’t dishing out long contracts and were careful approaching salary caps. There are still several veteran players left unsigned.
The 2015 Cy Young winner fills a gaping hole in the Phillies’ rotation. Until Arrieta signed, the rotation was slated to most likely be this:
- Aaron Nola 3.54 ERA 24 years old
- Jerad Eickhoff 4.71 ERA 27 years old
- Vince Velasquez 5.13 ERA 25 years old
- Nick Pivetta 6.02 ERA 25 years old
- Ben Lively 4.26 ERA 26 years old
Not a single player over the age of 27, meaning no veteran presence. The presence has arrived. In fact, that’s his nickname now.
Jake “The Presence” Arrieta
At 32 years old, he’s in the prime of his career. He started slow last year, but finished the season with a 3.53 ERA. While not close to the 1.77 ERA he had in 2015, he still provides the true ace presence (there’s that word again) that the Phillies needed.
Arrieta was a key piece of the 2016 World Series Winning curse-breaking Chicago Cubs. He posted a 3.10 ERA with a 1.084 WHIP, going 18-8 and finishing 9th in Cy Young voting.
Rumors of Arrieta signing with the Phillies had been a factor for most of the offseason based on the Phillies deep pockets. These rumors advanced further after it was revealed that Phillies’ outfielder Nick Williams had been working out with Arrieta during the offseason.
According to Williams, Arrieta already has a fondness for Philadelphia.
“He loves it here”, said Williams.
Apparently, the two have enjoyed many a protein shake. That might be fantastic news for first-year Phillies’ skipper Gabe Kapler as he is known for his lean lifestyle and love of healthy eating. According to Todd Zolecki, a smiling Kapler informed Carlos Santana about the Phillies’ agreement with Arrieta.
“Everybody’s surprised here, but we’re happy”, said Santana.
The Phillies moto this spring training has been “Be Bold” and this signing seems to fit the bill. The signing should push the Phillies into contention for one of the wild cards. Arrieta has also had great numbers against NL East favorites the Washington Nationals. In 158 career plate appearences against the Nats, Arrieta has only allowed 1 homer. That was to Daniel Murphy.
Since 2014, Arrieta has had the second lowest ERA in the majors with a 2.67 mark behind the Dodger’s Clayton Kershaw. From 2014-2017, he went 64-29 with a 1.03 WHIP and an All-Star appearance, a silver slugger, and a Cy Young award.
Time will tell if Arrieta will be able to live up to his ace status. For now, we will all bask in the glory of a possible winning season from the Phillies since 2011 and hope “The Presence” does his thing.
Mandatory Credit: Jim Young-USA TODAY Sports