Sport Signing Jake Arrieta is all about the long game for Phillies
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It appears that Scott Boras’ cold streak of only getting one-year deals for his clients is over for the time being.
Free-agent hurlerand the Philadelphia Phillies reportedly have an agreement in place for a . As with a number of Boras clients lately, the 32-year-old gets an opt-out clause after the second season, and Philly also gets the opportunity to void it by initiating a two-year extension for 2021-22.
Seeing something like this coming to fruition for Arrieta was tough to fathom after the first three months of 2017. When the hurler woke up on July 1st, he owned a 4.67 ERA while allowing 1.32 home runs per nine innings and a 31.4% hard-hit rate through 88.2 frames. The silver lining was that advanced ERA estimators pegged him as a bit unlucky (4.04 SIERA, 3.92 xFIP), and he turned things around in a big way to salvage his season.
Cubs starter Tyler Chatwood deals while free agent Jake Arrieta waits
While many Cubs fans are still pining for a reunion with free agent Jake Arrieta, new starter Tyler Chatwood is going about his business and looking sharp. Making his second start this spring, Chatwood threw two hitless innings Saturday in the Cubs' 7-4 win over the Reds at Sloan Park. "I threw three curves and four changeups, obviously not as much as I'd like to," Chatwood said. "The shape of Making his second start this spring, Chatwood threw two hitless innings Saturday in the Cubs' 7-4 win over the Reds at Sloan Park.
Over his final 79.2 frames, those above numbers improved to 2.26, 1.13, and 27.2%, respectively. They were encouraging, but his strikeout rate got worse, and those same ERA estimators pegged him as lucky (4.27 SIERA, 4.32 xFIP).
Given the situation, signing Arrieta to this kind of short-term deal isn’t nearly as big of a risk as it would initially seem. But, what exactly are the risks?
In the Wrong Direction
Since breaking out in 2015 with an incredible Cy Young performance, Arrieta was a crucial piece to the puzzle for a Chicago Cubs team that reached the NLCS in three consecutive seasons, which also included a World Series title in 2016. While that experience is great for a young and rebuilding team like the Phillies, it’s also a lot of wear-and-tear on Arrieta’s right arm.
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Sure, he’s only thrown 1,161 career regular-season innings, but over 51% of them have come within the last three years. And almost every statistic in the below table has decreased each season during this time.
The trend also mostly held up in his batted-ball profile when looking at ground-ball rate (GB%), fly-ball rate (FB%), soft-hit rate (Soft%), and hard-hit rate (Hard%).
We can obviously point to that 2015 performance and call it an outlier (especially since that 0.75 second-half ERA of his was just bananas). However, it is concerning for a pitcher at his age — after seeing the average velocity of his four-seam fastball settle in at a career-high 94.6 miles per hour in 2015, it’s decreased in each of the last two seasons. The 92.1 mph average velocity he posted in 2017 was a career-low.
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That Something Missing
The concerns with Arrieta’s performance aren’t hard to see. He also brings the kind of track record and big league experience that the current Phillies rotation was lacking, though.
According to, the projected Opening Day rotation had previously included , , , , and . While some have experienced success at the MLB level, none have experienced it at Arrieta’s level. And for a team that thinks they’re nearing the end of a lengthy rebuild, it’s important to have a stabilizing force in the form of a veteran player that can keep those young guys on the straight and narrow when pressure is on.
The goal of any rebuild is to finish with a roster and farm system that’s set up for consistent success. Having young talent is important to accomplish that, but it’s just as important — if not more so — to have a veteran or two on hand that’s been up the mountain a few times and knows what it’s like up there. Along with producing in the short term on the field, Arrieta’s impact on a mostly young staff has the potential to be felt for years down the road.
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<p>Manchester United are weighing up a summer move for Borussia Dortmund's colossal defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos, joining rivals Chelsea in pursuit of the 29-year-old.</p>Manchester United are weighing up a summer move for Borussia Dortmund's colossal defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos, joining rivals Chelsea in pursuit of the 29-year-old.
Setting Things Up for Next Winter
Although this move is literally coming months after the organization’s small spending spree in December that included signing, and , it’s likely that the mindset behind it is the same: to ramp up for 2019.
The Phillies have a shot at being competitive this season, but it’s still unlikely that they’ll seriously push for a playoff berth. While accomplishing something like that would be awesome and ahead of schedule, the main goal for 2018 is to appear more relevant and outperform last year’s club that posted just 66 wins.
Ideally,‘s first year as manager would produce more than 73 wins — something Philly hasn’t done since 2012 when they went 81-81. The biggest reason behind these moves is to boost their performance floor and to the top end of next winter’s (*cough* *cough*).
It’s also worth noting that there was money to spend from a team that hasn’t been afraid to do it in the past. The Phillies’ $116 million payroll in 2017 wasand among the bottom third in baseball. And when not accounting for pre-arbitration salaries, they have with 2018 on the horizon.
Committing $75 million to a player that’s likely going to continue declining is a risky investment, but it was a prudent one for Philadelphia. The payroll flexibility to make it happen was there, it’ll probably help them sell some more tickets for the upcoming season, and his influence on the staff will be valuable. Plus, having an offseason in which they lured both Arrieta and Santana — two of the winter’s top available players — to Philly certainly makes them a more attractive landing spot for future free agents.
For an investment like this, it’s necessary to make sure the pros outweigh the cons, and that is definitely the case here — especially with it being just a three-year commitment.
With Arrieta, Phillies done rebuilding, ready to contend .
The Phillies, a franchise that was dominant a decade ago, now has reason to believe it’s go time after five consecutive losing seasons.After joining the Philadelphia Phillies bullpen in December as a free agent, Hunter knew just the guy to lead the team’s youthful rotation, a fellow with a Cy Young Award to his name who just happened to be his former teammate and was available on the market.
JAKE ARRIETA SIGNS WITH THE PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (3 YEARS - 75 MILLION)
THE PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES HAVE SIGNED FREE AGENT STARTING PITCHER JAKE ARRIETA TO A 3 YEAR 75 MILLION DOLLAR CONTRACT! MAKE SURE TO SUBSCRIBE TO BOTH CHANNELS! - “SHELFY” = SPORTS GAMES...
Frank Klose talks potential of Phillies signing Jake Arrieta, expectations for the bullpen, and more
If you're new, Subscribe! → http://bit.ly/1tCJ9S2 973espn.com Phillies Insider Frank Klose joins Rich Quinones talking potential of team to sign Jake Arrieta, expectations for the starting...
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