Phillies Need Jake Arrieta to Be Their No. 3 Starter
It was about two years ago when the Phillies made the bold decision to sign former Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta. On March 11, 2018, Arrieta agreed to a three-year, $75 million contract with the Phillies, with the hopes to provide a top-of-the-rotation starter next to Aaron Nola.
During his five-year stint in Chicago, Arrieta was one of the games very best, going 68-31, with a 2.73 ERA and 1.034 WHIP in 803.1 innings pitched.
So far the move hasn't worked out the way they had hoped.
Arrieta has one-year and $20 million riding on this season to help Phillies fans forget his first two seasons in Philly.
In two mediocre seasons so far in Philly, Arrieta is 18-19 with a 4.26 ERA in 55 games.
"If you look at his two years so far with the Phillies, his first four month of 2018 were pretty darn good," Phillies beat writer Scott Lauber said on The Sports Bash. Then it of course completely spiraled out-of-control for him - and kind of colors how we look at his 2018 season in general."
"Then last year in Spring Training he tells us about this knee problem he had, the he said effected him down the stretch last year, then he developed this bone spur and couldn't throw his cutter and couldn't throw his curve ball."
Arrieta was shut down in mid-August and eventually had season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his pitching elbow, but comes in this spring with a clean bill or health, which has been a recipe for success for him in Philly -- when he's been healthy, he's been good.
If Arrieta can pitch like a No. 3 pitcher, the could really help add depth behind Nola and free-agent addition Zach Wheeler.
"He's not the dominate guy he was with the Cubs," Lauber acknowleded.
"But he is an effective pitcher when healthy. Now will he stay healthy this year, that's a huge question. He doesn't have to be their second-best pitcher this year, he just has to be their No. 3. If he can pitch the way he has pitched for a large-part of when he's been healthy - that's gonna be an alright No. 3 starter."
The battle behind Arrieta will be interesting to watch as Vince Velasquez, Zach Eflin and Nick Pivetta will battle for the No. 4 and 5 spot in the rotation. One guy who likely won't be is 23-year old Spencer Howard, the teams top pitching prospect.
Howard tweaked his knee and will get a delayed start to spring training, meaning the long-shot has virtually no-shot to make the team out of Clearwater.
"Matt Klentak commented that every pitch he throws in Feb and March is one less pitch he throws in Sept. and the Phillies are going to want him in Sept if he's really that good. So he'll be on a limit in Spring Training and maybe even early in the season."
"But the Phillies are fairly certain he is going to pitch for them at some point this year."