The Philadelphia Phillies need front-line pitching, but free-agent RHP Jake Arrieta isn't a good fit for the team.
Monday morning, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported that the Phillies were 'considering' Arrieta. Matt Gelb of The Philadelphia Inquirer, in an article littered with good nuggets, said that the Phillies will not spend on Arrieta. The feeling here is that while the Phillies may be monitoring Arrieta's free-agency to see if his price drastically drops, the Phillies probably don't envision themselves signing the former National League Cy Young Award winner.
As Heyman noted, the Phillies aren't the most ideal fit for Arrieta given that they aren't likely to contend next year. That alone makes the idea of signing a free-agent who has a qualifying offer attached to his free-agency and is projected to make $25 million per season curious.
In the case of potentially trading for someone like Manny Machado, who is only 25, you would feel comfortable signing him to a long-term deal, knowing that he may only be entering his prime when the Phillies are ready to contend. Not only is it worrisome that Arrieta is 31 and probably won't be worth $25 million per season when the Phillies are ready to return to contention in two or three years, but he's already not worth that type of money.
2015 Arrieta, who went 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA and a 7.3 fWAR, isn't a free-agent. If Arrieta was still pitching at that level, the Cubs probably wouldn't have allowed him to reach free-agency. This isn't even 2016 Arrieta, who went 18-8 with a 3.10 ERA, 3.52 FIP and 3.8 fWAR. Arrieta went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA, 4.16 FIP and 2.4 FIP last season. Even if the Phillies were ready to contend in 2018, it probably wouldn't make sense to give him a long-term deal at such a high clip.
If Arrieta's price drops drastically, perhaps this is something that will be worth revisiting. But Arrieta has declined over the past two seasons, and his timeline simply doesn't match up with that of the Phillies. Perhaps the only people seriously intrigued by this fit are those who represent Arrieta.
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