The Phillies and Jake Arrieta were linked all offseason long, but a deal wasn’t finalized until spring training was well underway. With the way his contract is structured, he is tied for the fourth-highest salary in the league this year, making $30 million. Considering his salary and track record, expectations for Arrieta were high coming into the year.
Arrieta got off to an impressive start to his Phillies career, posting a 2.16 ERA through May. His ERA has been a roller coaster since then, jumping up to 6.66 in June and dropping down to 2.80 in July. Since August started, Arrieta has a 4.96 ERA, 4.61 fielding-independent pitching, and eight home runs allowed in eight starts.
Arrieta’s season-long numbers are largely in line with last year, which was considered a disappointment. In 29 starts, he has a 3.77 ERA, 4.13 FIP, 3.3 wins above replacement, 2.51 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 4.20 skill-interactive ERA. One notable difference has been a higher ground-ball rate as Arrieta adjusted his approach on the mound. His 52.1% ground ball rate ranks fourth-highest among qualified pitchers.
It was unrealistic to expect Arrieta to return to his Cy Young form at 32 years old. While his overall results aren’t up to par considering his salary, the team has money and luxury tax room to burn. I more or less expected Arrieta to repeat his season from last year, and that is what he did.