The Philadelphia Phillies may be engaged in talks with Jake Arrieta according to the Bleacher Report, but what’s the real purpose? Arrieta is a pitcher a team on the brink of a World Series title calls upon when they are a pitcher away. This is the type of move the New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs or Washington Nationals need, not a team that’s rebuilding.
Why should the Phillies pay Arrieta $150-200 million when they may have trouble getting past the New York Mets and Nationals in the NL East? Baseball is a strange sport where anything can happen, but does anyone honestly believe that the Phillies are one pitcher away from contender status? It would be foolish for the Phillies GM, Matt Klentak to pony up that kind of money just for 15 wins. What the Phillies need to worry about is finding a face to put the franchise behind this season then look for the missing pieces in 2019.
The Phillies must take the same approach the Philadelphia Eagles, and Philadelphia 76ers did over the last two years. With both teams in a tailspin, it only took that one young and hungry player to get the team in the national spotlight. For the Eagles, it was Carson Wentz. Although Wentz did not bring home the Lombardi Trophy, he put the Eagles in a position to get where they needed to be. Look at the Sixers and where they were before Joel Embiid. The Sixers were the laughingstock of the NBA; now they will more than likely ride Embiid’s coattail to their first playoff berth since 2011. This is what the Phillies must focus on, not a 32-year old pitcher coming off a so-so season.
Who Could Be The Face Of The Phillies?
Great question, however, if you let the fans tell it, it could be Tommy Joseph or Rhys Hoskins. While each player can make a strong argument, the truth is, they must do more. In 2017, Joseph, in just his second MLB season, smacked 22 home runs and drove in 69, but he’s still a little wet-behind-the-ears to be a face. The same can be said of Hoskins in 2017. In his rookie season, Hoskins, in a limited role after being called up, hit 18 home runs with 48 RBI’s. Besides those two, it’s a complete guessing game for the Phillies.
The list for the Phillies is limited at best. There’s Maikel Franco who had a chance before he flamed out last season. Cesar Hernandez is another viable option, but neither player has put together back-to-back strong seasons worthy to be labeled a franchise player. So, what’s the reason for the Phillies and their interest in Arrieta? Better yet, what’s Arrieta’s interest in the Phillies?
At this stage in his career, especially after winning a World Series with the Cubs, why would Arrietta just chase the money? I get it, $150 million is a lot of money, but can’t he get that for a contending team? Why waste the last remaining years of his prime on a team that may win 70 games this season? The same goes for the Phillies. Why pay a large sum of money when they should be looking for ways to use that cash to add 3-4 potential arms? There’s no need for the Phillies to destroy their cap when they’re at least another season or two away from contending. The Phillies have said they’re waiting for Arrieta to drop his price and they will think about a three-year deal with maybe an opt-out after one. Once again, how does that work in their favor?
Both the Phillies and Arrieta must know that this pairing would not work, at least not for 2018. It’s better off they both just go about their business. Arrieta can pitch for a contender, and the Phillies can concern themselves with finding the next Jimmy Rollins or Ryan Howard.