Phillies: Top 5 worst free agent signings of the last decade

A.J. Burnett, Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
A.J. Burnett, Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /
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PHILADELPHIA, PA – APRIL 06: Jake Arrieta #49 of the Philadelphia Phillies walks to the dugout against the Minnesota Twins at Citizens Bank Park on April 6, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Twins defeated the Phillies 6-2. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

#1. Jake Arrieta

Finally, after years of pain and misery at Citizens Bank Park, it appeared the Phillies were enforcing a new strategy. Gone were the days of the Michael Saunders and the AJ Burnett’s of the world, the Phillies front office were going all-in on buying the cream of the crop in free agency.

Coming off a Cy Young season in 2015, a World Series victory in 2016, and a darn good year in 2017, former Cubs ace Jake Arrieta was deemed the “prize” of free agency in 2018. Already possessing an ace of their own in Aaron Nola, the potential to pair Arrieta up with him was just too much for the Phillies to pass on.

Agreeing to a 3-year/$75 million dollar contract, Arrieta was set to become the Phillies highest paid player, as well as becoming one of the highest paid players in the league. The addition of Arrieta to an up and coming young Phillies team would no doubt push them over the top, and back into the postseason.

Then the funny business began.

Philadelphia Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies /

Philadelphia Phillies

Arrieta tore cartilage in his left knee during the month of June, but opted not to tell the team (?). Keeping this information to himself, Arrieta decided to finish out the season. Despite ranking third in the NL in salary at the time, Arrieta went just 10-11 as a starter, recording an ERA of 3.96.

Despite having his knee operated on over the offseason, 2019 didn’t fare much better for the veteran righty. Posting a 4.64 ERA across 24 starts, Arrieta once again got injured. This time, Arrieta opted to shut things down and underwent season-ending surgery on his shoulder.

On top of the awful in-game performances, Arrieta also really struggled to develop himself as a leader within the Phillies clubhouse. With repeated issues revolving around Arrieta being leaked, it’s clear he hasn’t meshed well with the team overall. When a franchise commits $75 million dollars to a player, they’d like to see them be a “face” for the team.

With just one year left on his contract, many fans are already counting down the days until Arrieta no longer dawns the red and white. With $25 million dollars coming off the books with his departure, hopefully the Phillies invest that money into someone nothing like the names mentioned on this list.