Predicting how 2020 Phillies pitchers will do in free agency

Jake Arrieta #49 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Jake Arrieta #49 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Several 2020 Phillies pitchers are now free agents; here’s what we predict they will earn this offseason.

Free agency is well underway, and several pitchers from the 2020 Philadelphia Phillies roster are among players seeking a new contract for the next season.

The next few months of the Major League Baseball offseason are sure to be unpredictable, as owners try to cut costs following the pandemic-shortened season. Nevertheless, I’ll try my best to predict the contracts these pitchers who recently donned red pinstripes will get in the free-agent market.

Jake Arrieta

Right-hander Jake Arrieta was nothing but a disappointment to Phillies fans, so it’s easy to forget that he’s actually still a perfectly serviceable No. 5 starter. To determine what Arrieta could make as a free agent, I’ll compare him to two similar free agents from last offseason — Homer Bailey and Gio Gonzalez.

Bailey signed with the Twins on a one-year, $7 million contract. He was a year younger than Arrieta is now; his 2019 season was slightly better than Arrieta’s 2020 campaign. However, over the past three seasons, Arrieta has been the superior player.

At age 34, the same age Arrieta is now, Gonzalez signed a one-year, $5 million contract with the White Sox. Gonzalez pitched better than Bailey in 2019, but his playing time was limited by an arm injury. Clearly, this injury prevented him from securing a bigger contract, because from 2017-2019 he was a far better pitcher than Bailey (or Arrieta).

My gut tells me that Arrieta will earn less money than those comparable free agents did. His has less upside than either of them did, and his steady, year-by-year decline since 2016 is concerning. Still, he will be pitching in a major league rotation in 2021.

My prediction: One year, $3 million