Phillies wise being cautious on going all-in on Arrieta

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 02: Jake Arrieta
CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 02: Jake Arrieta /

Patience is a virtue for the Phillies in free agency

Baseball has never seen an offseason as slow as this year with more than a dozen all-star caliber free agents still available. Atop the list is right-handed starter Jake Arrieta, who has been heavily connected to the Phillies given his familiarity with members of the front office from his Baltimore days.

Following a mediocre career in Baltimore, the Cubs got the best three years of Arrieta they could have imagined. His 2015 Cy Young season when he led the league in wins, starts, complete games, shutouts, hits per nine innings, and home runs per nine innings has undeniably one of the greatest seasons for a starting pitcher in the last decade.

Hitting free agency for the first time in his career Arrieta is aiming for the payday he’s never truly received as an arbitration-eligible player. Considering he turns 32 next week it’s a wise attempt by Arrieta and superagent Scott Boras to get the most years out of his contract possible.

Klentak is wise for not giving in to the six year contract demand coming out of the Arrieta camp given the steady decline seen in Arrieta’s numbers since his Cy Young season. Free agents rarely evolve into terrific deals, and signing a declining pitcher on the wrong side of 30 makes little sense for an organization looking to move forward.

Ruben Amaro Jr. would have signed Arrieta to a six-year, $175 million deal in December if he was still running the organization. Klentak has a vision for this club going forward, and it’s not centered around being tied to a bad contract when the young talent is ready to compete.

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Next years free agent class of starting pitchers could be even better assuming health is on their side. Garrett Richards, Dallas Kuechel, Patrick Corbin, J.A. Happ, and Matt Harvey are expected to be free agents, and Clayton Kershaw has an option in his contract with Los Angeles.

I’d much rather see another year of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, and Zach Eflin than be tied to an aging pitcher for six years. Arrieta will never sign a three year deal given his age and knowing this is his only chance to strike gold.

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It would be extremely exciting to see a bonafide ace back in Philadelphia, but it simply can not hinder the organization’s goals for the future.