Phillies rumors: Jake Arrieta still wants a six or seven-year deal

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PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 04: Jake Arrieta #49 of the Chicago Cubs reacts after giving up a single to David Freese #23 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first inning during the game at PNC Park on September 4, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 04: Jake Arrieta #49 of the Chicago Cubs reacts after giving up a single to David Freese #23 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first inning during the game at PNC Park on September 4, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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The Phillies and Jake Arrieta have discussed a potential contract, but the two sides remain far off as Arrieta still wants a long-term deal.

At this point, most Phillies fans are feeling like this. Spring training games are starting and the starting rotation remains largely unchanged. At this point, just adding someone is better than nothing.

Reportedly, the team has indeed been trying to add some talent to their starting rotation, engaging in discussions with former Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta. The two sides had been linked all offseason, but things were finally starting to heat up.

However, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com has thrown some cold water on the hot stove. He reports that the length of the contract remains an issue in negotiations:

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"Sources have told MLB.com that the Phillies are open to a three-year contract for free-agent right-hander Jake Arrieta, but they have been unwilling to make a six- or seven-year commitment to him, which reportedly is what Arrieta wants. In other words, little has changed between the Phillies and Boras, despite discussions throughout the offseason."

Zolecki writes that the club does not want to spend too much money over too much time on a player that is going to turn 32 in a few weeks. From Arrieta’s perspective, this may be the only time he gets to cash in big in free agency, so he and agent Scott Boras remain adamant about a long-term deal.

Committing to Arrieta would sign him until he is in his late-30s, which is a huge red flag for this front office. They are certainly willing to give him plenty of money (owner John Middleton told Zolecki “money is no object”) but keeping him under contract for six or seven years is not what they want to do. Three or four years is likely the maximum length they are willing to give.

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Middleton asserted to Zolecki that the club still wants to improve this year, but not at the expense of something in the future:

"“I think Andy, Matt and I are completely in agreement here,” Middleton said. “We want to improve the team, we’re always trying to improve the team, but we’ve got to do it a way that makes sense now and next year. We don’t want to sacrifice something significant in the future by making a short-term move. Whether it’s a trade or a signing, if we get the deal we think is right, we’ll do it. We’ll pull the trigger. Money is zero object. No object whatsoever.”"

Middleton also said that while they are looking in free agency, they are also pursuing potential trades.

Next: Phillies 2018 season preview: Mark Leiter Jr

It appears the Phils and Arrieta remain at odds over how long of a contract they are willing to accept. As the regular season nears, one side may buckle and be willing to accept a deal they otherwise wouldn’t have.

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