Phillies: Which free agent starting pitcher best fits the rebuild?
Jake Arrieta is the top name on the market three seasons removed from a Cy Young campaign with Chicago. At 32-years-old by Opening Day Arrieta brings a championship pedigree backed by nine playoff starts and a World Series ring with the Cubs.
Arrieta has connections within the Phillies organization, primarily in the front office with Andy MacPhail and Matt Klentak having drafted him with the Orioles.
Knowing he’s likely entering the final major contract of his career, Arrieta is looking for long-term security in terms of years guaranteed and average annual value. Philadelphia can afford to maximize Arrieta’s contract financially, but the years are likely an issue. Arrieta has already begun signs of falling off being on the wrong side of 30 with his ERA jumping from 1.77 in 2015 to 3.53 last year. According to Brooks Baseball, every single one of Arrieta’s pitches lost velocity since his 2015 season.
If the Phillies can somehow get Arrieta for three years with a vesting option it’ll be a great addition to a young starting rotation looking for an identity. If it’s anything longer than three years it could hurt them down the road, similar to how the Diamondbacks are tied to Zach Greinke.