Chicago Cubs Rumors: Are the Phillies a real Jake Arrieta suitor?
By Jake Misener
With the calendar approaching February, former Chicago Cubs ace Jake Arrieta remains unsigned. A recent report, though, connected him to the Phillies.
For months, the free agent market has remained at a standstill. Essentially none of the top-tier free agents, especially pitchers, have found a new home. The Chicago Cubs have been connected to all of them: Yu Darvish, Alex Cobb and, of course, Jake Arrieta.
But at this point, it’s anybody’s guess where those three guys wind up. The Cubs stand to benefit from another starting pitching addition regardless, but they could face increasing competition if these guys back off their six or seven-year contract demands.
One of those clubs? The Philadelphia Phillies.
According to NBC Sports Philadelphia, Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been training with Arrieta this offseason – and has been doing his due diligence in recruiting the former Cy Young winner to the City of Brotherly Love.
"“He loves it here,” Williams said. “He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”"
Philadelphia already handed out the biggest position player free agent contract this offseason. GM Matt Klentak went out and brought in Carlos Santana on a three-year, $60 million deal. That same contract represents the highest (in terms of AAV) on the entire Phillies roster, so it stands to reason they have the financial resources to bring in an Arrieta-type arm.
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The Phillies boast a lot of young, high-upside arms in their rotation. Vince Velasquez, Aaron Nola and Jared Eickoff all figure to be big parts of the 2018 staff. Add in a gritty veteran like Arrieta atop that mix – a guy with a long history of winning – and the Phils might be ready to turn the corner in their rebuild.
Santana figures to headline the offense – one already loaded with a balanced set of guys. While they lack a traditional 30-100 bat, Philadelphia featured five players with at least 14 home runs last year. Santana hit 23 himself for the Indians last year, only furthering the depth in the lineup for first-year manager Gabe Kapler.
Don’t sleep on the Cubs, either
With the aforementioned hole left in the starting rotation, bringing Arrieta back to Wrigley Field makes a good deal of sense for the Cubs, as well. That being said, it seems to be contingent on the very same factors that had kept Philadelphia on the edge of things – the number of years.
If you can bring the right-hander back on a three-year deal with a higher-than-expected AAV (think three years, $90 million), there’s something to seriously consider. Then, you replaced John Lackey with Tyler Chatwood, which is a clear net-positive for the starting rotation.
There are clear parallels between the two clubs, as well. Philadelphia is simply a few years behind where the Cubs are in the rebuilding process. Chicago came out the other side, realized the light wasn’t a train and won the World Series. After finally getting out from under contracts to Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and others, the Phillies are hoping for a similar destiny.
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We’re officially under the 30-day mark till players report to Florida and Arizona for Spring Training workouts. Jake Arrieta still needs a home. Is he ready to be the true ‘ace’ for a team looking to return to relevance? Or will he return to the North Side, hoping to capitalize on a lengthy championship window?