A former National League Cy Young and Silver Slugger Award winner, All-Star and World Series champion — eight-year veteran RHP Jake Arrieta — is joining the Philadelphia Phillies.
Arrieta, who turned 32 on Tuesday, has signed a three-year, $75 million deal to join the Phillies, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale. The contract is an "agreement in principle," pending a physical.
In signing with the Phillies, Arrieta reunites with former Baltimore Orioles and current Phillies brass which drafted him in the fifth round of the 2007 amateur draft out of Texas Christian University: President Andy MacPhail, Vice President and General Manager Matt Klentak, Assistant General Managers Scott Proefrock and Ned Rice, and Director of Player Development Joe Jordan.
FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman details the specifics of the contract:
Arrieta salaries are 30M, 25M and 20M. Can opt out after two. Deal could go to 5 years and be worth 125M to 135M. #phillies— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 11, 2018
phillies can void the arrieta opt out by triggering a 2-year extension that starts at 20M per year, rises to 25M based on games started in first 2 years, or up to 30M based on cy young finishes. 135M possible. #phillies— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 11, 2018
Arrieta drastically improves the Phillies' rotation, which last season allowed the seventh-most hits (936), 11th-most runs (509), sixth-most home runs (150) and 15th-most walks (306).
The right-hander has thrown at least 30 starts and homered at least once in each of his last three seasons as a member of the Chicago Cubs, including his Cy Young Award season in 2015 where he went 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA and 236-48 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 229 innings on the mound, and clubbed two home runs in 83 plate appearances at the plate. Arrieta opposed lefty Cole Hamels in his last start with the Phillies, a no-hit effort, on July 24 of that season.
The Phillies were long rumored to show interest in Arrieta this offseason, more recently via a Feb. 20 report by Heyman that said the two sides were "having dialogue" and a March 11 report by USA Today's Bob Nightengale saying the Phillies were "looming as the favorite."
The Phillies were reluctant to offer Arrieta's desired long-term-type deal at 6-7 years and $130 million-plus, but rather a short-term, high average annual value (AAV)-type contract. It appears the Phillies got their way: $25 million AAV over three years. Arrieta is represented by agent Scott Boras through the Boras Corporation.
As MLB.com's Todd Zolecki notes, because Arrieta rejected the Cubs' qualifying offer, the Phillies will have to forfeit their third-highest draft pick and $500,000 in international signing bonus money. The club surrendered their second-highest pick and $500,000 in international signing bonus money when they signed 1B/OF Carlos Santana in December.
In signing Arrieta, it is yet to be known if right-hander Aaron Nola will remain as the Phillies' Opening Day starter, away against the Atlanta Braves on March 29 at SunTrust Park. With the season less than three weeks away, however, Arrieta might miss some time due to lack of spring training reps. Rookie manager Gabe Kapler first announced that Nola would be the slated as the club's No. 1 starter on Feb. 25.
Just three spots remain to round out the rotation after Arrieta and Nola. Among the multiple starter hopefuls include: right-handers Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez and Mark Leiter Jr. as the likely the favorites, followed by Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin and Jake Thompson.
The Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals, Washington Nationals and San Diego Padres were among the other teams reported to show interest in Arrieta this offseason. Arrieta's former team in the Cubs "barely engaged" to re-sign the right-hander, and instead agreed to terms with four-time All-Star RHP Yu Darvish.
Arrieta is 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA and 0.733 WHIP in 15 innings all-time at Citizens Bank Park.