Finally — the most expensive mistake on this list. When Jake Arrieta signed with the Phillies during spring training of 2018, it was immediately evident that they had obscenely overpaid.
There was, however, a path to Arrieta being worth it if he could pitch reasonably close to the form he had displayed in Chicago for the previous four years — stay healthy and act as a mentor and positive influence for the younger pitchers on the staff.
As it turns out, it was foolish to think this way.
In Arrieta’s first season with the team, he reverted to his pre-Chicago form, although he at least stayed healthy. He was not as fortunate in 2019, developing a bone spur in his pitching elbow that affected him. Arrieta soldiered on but was ultimately shut down for the season in mid-August.
Making matters worse, Arrieta had a third-year option at $20 million that he could trigger at his discretion. As an old, injured pitcher at this point, he of course exercised it, because he wouldn’t be able to fetch nearly that much on the open market. During that 60-game, COVID-shortened campaign, Arrieta posted a 5.08 ERA in nine starts, then hurt his hamstring and missed the last two weeks of the season. He was finally done with the Phils. Good riddance.
Now, to get in my time machine and make all of these Phillies free-agent signings magically disappear like Carlos Correa’s just did.