At the end of 2017, there seemed to be an abundance of hope for the Philadelphia Phillies. The absolute breakout of rookie first baseman Rhys Hoskins pushed the Phillies to be buyers in the offseason. No longer would the rebuild be front and center! Finally, the Phillies would spend some money and try to compete.
Their biggest signing now looks like their biggest mistake. The Phillies gave Jake Arrieta $75 million over 3 years. Arrieta has been actively hurting the Phillies since 2019. I talked about it last year, but now it is evident that Arrieta’s contract has become the worst in Phillies’ history.
In 2018, he was passable, but certainly not worth the $30 million he made that year. He posted a 3.96 ERA over 172.2 IP. His ERA+ of 104 reflected exactly what he was, a barely above average pitcher. He accumulated a WAR of 2.8, while his strikeout rate was the lowest since the 2013 season.
It Only Got Worse…
In 2019, Jake Arrieta kept declining. In 24 starts, Arrieta’s ERA+ of 97 translated to a just below average pitcher. Some of his other numbers looked much worse. His hits per 9 innings pitched of 9.9 was the worst for an entire season in his entire career. His WAR for pitching 135.2 innings was a minuscule 0.8. Almost any other pitcher could’ve done better.
Now that we’re in 2020, Jake Arrieta has the worst ERA of his career and the second-worst ERA+ of his career. His last outing against the Braves was the shortest of his career. He allowed 7 ER in just 1.1 IP. In his Phillies career, Arrieta has allowed 4+ runs in 24 of his 61 starts. In 2015, Arrieta was the best pitcher in baseball. In 2020, he isn’t even a major leaguer.
According to Baseball Savant, Arrieta has 2 stats under the 10th percentile in the majors. He’s in the 9th percentile of whiff %, meaning he cannot get players to swing and miss anymore. He’s also in the 8th percentile in expected batting average. Players are expected to hit .326 against Arrieta. He is actively making opposing hitters better at this stage of his career.
But Ryan Howard!
No, absolutely not and here’s why, straight from the source.
You cannot predict a freak injury. Jake Arrieta was already declining in 2017. Arrieta’s 3.54 ERA was already his worst since 2013.
Ryan Howard brought a second World Series title to Philadelphia. He won Rookie of the Year and MVP awards FOR the Phillies. His number 6 could still be retired for the Phillies. His contract also hasn’t actively hampered the Phillies from making moves. Since 2019, Arrieta’s $25 million cap hit has prevented the Phillies from filling holes. The Phillies would’ve never considered cutting Howard. In order for the Phillies to compete, they have to strongly consider cutting ties with Jake Arrieta.
Mandatory Credit – Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire
Alec Kostival graduated from La Salle University with a degree in communication with a focus in mass media and journalism. He covered high school sports for the Chestnut Hill Local. He has interned with the Reading Fightin Phils and the Philadelphia Eagles.