Report: Phillies Considering Ace Jake Arrieta
Free agent pitcher Jake Arrieta was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the fifth round of the 2007 draft. At the time, Arrieta received the largest signing bonus ever for a fifth-round pick. Also at the time: Phillies president Andy MacPhail was president of the Baltimore Orioles. That could be why the Phillies are "considering" Arrieta this offseason.
According to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag Sports, the Phillies might be interested:
The Phillies might not be a "perfect" fit as they do not intend to contend in 2018.
However, signing an ace pitcher ahead of expected contention has been done before. The very Chicago Cubs which Arrieta departs did just that. With a young core being put together and coming off a 73-89 finish in 2014, the Cubs signed ace Jon Lester prior to the 2015 season, even though the Cubs were not expected to contend.
Not only did the Cubs find themselves Wild Card winners in 2015, but the 2016 Chicago Cubs won the World Series. In a way, the Cubs were signing Lester to have an ace in 2016, but got the added benefit of a stronger 2015 and still had the ace pitcher they were looking for in 2016, too. Arrieta might not get the Phillies a 2018 Wild Card but might make things interesting, depending on the other moves.
The down side is that the Phillies would have to pay for one of Arrieta's prime years when they are not expected to contend in 2018, but also pay for some of the later years of his career. At 31 (and turning 32 in Spring Training), Arrieta may only have three decent seasons left, if that. With Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay, both fell off dramatically after their year 34 season.
So, it would be a gamble for the Phillies, but they may wish to give it a shot if the price is right. So far no major suitors have been linked to Arrieta, so maybe there is room for the Phillies to jump in and sign him at a reasonable price. They have the luxury of being that team with their flush financial resources.