The Philadelphia Phillies may have had their wish granted this offseason. According to Bleacher Report, Jake Arrieta is set to make his decision in the next few days regarding where he will pitch in 2018. While teams are still giving their best pitch, it’s the Phillies who have come out as clear favorites to land the former Cy Young winner.
What has taken Arrieta so long to make a decision? No one really knows but what we do know is if the Phillies land Arrieta, they instantly become contenders in the National League East.
In 2017, the Phillies finished the season 66-96 as they dealt with another rebuilding year. However, with a ton of free agents available this offseason and with the Phillies loaded with cash, many expected them to make a big splash. While they did walk away with slugger Carlos Santana plus the addition of Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter, the Phillies made under-the-radar, yet promising improvements. But it was still the issue of the starting rotation.
The Phillies were linked to Yu Darvish and Lance Lynn and both passed. Now, if Arrieta is set to join, the Phillies can add him to a rotation that includes Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez, and Nick Pivetta. It’s clear that Arrieta will replace Nola as the ace but the two of them together would be plenty for opposing teams to handle on back-to-back days.
— Sports Talk Philly (@sportstalkphl) March 11, 2018
What has taken so long for the Phillies and any Arrieta deal has been the Phillies unwillingness to go past three years on any contract. Arrieta is set to make a ton of money no matter where he signs. However, the Phillies are sticking to their idea of short-term deals.
What this means for the Phillies is a chance to leapfrog the New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, and Miami Marlins and give chase to the Washington Nationals. In 2017, Arrieta started 30 games, pitched 168.1 innings with 163 strikeouts, and an ERA of 3.53 while going 14-10. Adding this type of experience to a young rotation and team could only bode well for the Phillies moving forward.