This was a great move and a great offseason but if the Phillies truly believe they can settle. It followed the signings of relievers Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek and was basically a rant on how the club should sign Jake Arrieta. I feel like we're not far away.
"A rebuild doesn't mean you can't win now", Arrieta said. "I was coming hard". But they waited and waited, and by late February heard numbers more to their liking - then needed about two weeks to hammer out a complex deal that includes an opt-out for Arrieta after 2019 that the Phillies can override by granting a two-year extension.
The fact that the market wasn't almost as profitable as Arrieta - who supposedly was initially seeking $200 million - had hoped allowed the Phillies to land Arrieta for the "relatively" modest price of $75 million over three years. However, it sounds like it won't take Arrieta much time beyond the opener before he's cleared to start, as the right-hander had kept him arm conditioned while he was unsigned by throwing 50-to-60-pitch bullpen sessions. There are plenty of developing starters who could benefit from his tutelage, beginning with Aaron Nola. His 2.71 ERA is only behind Kershaw's 2.07 mark during that span. "Jake, in our opinion, was the best player available this offseason. Even though we are technically in a rebuild, I think all the players would agree with me that we intend to win, rebuild or not". But it's what he does in the clubhouse and the dugout and for the other players on the days he's not pitching that's going to make a huge difference.
The Phillies will officially introduce him at a press conference at 9 a.m. on Tuesday morning in Clearwater, Florida. A greeting committee welcomed him upon arrival.
Arrieta won the 2015 NL Cy Young Award when he finished 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA and 236 strikeouts in 229 innings. Opponents logged a.283/.364/.528 slash line vs. his cutter, compared to.186/.239/.271 in 2015. "You get to a point in your career where you understand that pitching isn't all about velocity, " he said. I looked myself in the mirror, as well as my two-year-old son and pregnant wife knowing in my heart that everything was about to change. "If that velocity does go back to 95-96, the league is in a lot of trouble".
Arrieta earned NL Pitcher of the Month and NL Pitcher of the Week honors four times over his five year tenure with the Cubs.
Arrieta won a major league-leading 54 games with a 2.71 ERA over the past three seasons.
"This is a special situation for me", Arrieta said. "There's talent in here that needs experiential refinement, attitude and confidence".
"When you bring in players like Jake", said Boras, whose stockpile of lofty metaphors to describe his clients is apparently endless, "you put the cream in the coffee where it's ready to drink". Familiarity helped play a role in bringing Arrieta to Philadelphia.
General manager Matt Klentak praised the organization's "incredible family culture" and Kapler for promoting a "loose, comfortable environment" that allows the team to attract big-time players. Joe Jordan, now Philadelphia's player development director, selected Arrieta out of Texas Christian University in the fifth round of the 2007 draft while with the Orioles.
Arrieta's message to the city? "Maybe we think we could go acquire that piece a little later this season or in the offseason next year".
In 2012, Arrieta tweeted, "Where's the best cheesesteak in Philly?"
"That's a conversation for another day", Middleton said. "He looks at me and he goes, "Bleep, yeah"'".
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