The Phillies and Nationals are among the clubs being linked to free-agent starter Jake Arrieta, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Arrieta remains one of the top free agents available in a slow winter.
Philadelphia is considering a pursuit of Arrieta, according to Heyman, though Washington’s inteerest should be described as “tepid,” per Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post. Arrieta’s market has yet to fully develop with Yu Darvish, Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn remaining on the market as well.
While he’s has solid numbers averaging over the last three seasons (54-24 with a 2.71 ERA), Arrieta has seen a decline in his stats since his Cy Young year of Yore (2015, to be exact). His 2017 was lackluster, pitching a 14-10 record with a 3.53 ERA .
Scott Boras is not known for his modesty and has stuck a $200 million price tag on the 31-year old as well as a 75 page binder that we can only assume is the companion novel of intangibles that Arrieta comes equipped with: “Jake Arrieta for Dummies”, perhaps.
Washington already has an insane amount of money invested in pitching. Max Scherzer is entering the fourth year of a seven year, $210 million contract. Stephen Strasburg, a fellow Boras client, is coming up on his third year of a seven-year, $175 million deal. If anyone can get the deal done there’s no doubt that Boras is the man, but it’s up to the Nationals if they want to cut another astonishingly huge check for a long term veteran pitcher.
While it’s a promising sign that the Phillies are being aggressive this offseason, successfully reclaiming Pat Neshek from the Rockies and locking him in for two years, going after Arrieta may be a little too ambitious. Philadelphia would be taking a big risk that involves a lot of zeros and there’s no telling how the franchise will bounce back if Arrieta turns out to be one of the biggest free agents busts of 2017.