Over the weekend, the Philadelphia Phillies inked free-agent starting pitcher Jake Arrieta to a three-year deal worth up to $75 million. The 2015 CY Young Award winner was the best arm available entering the off-season according to anyone that watched Yu Darvish spoil my life-long dream of missing work to witness a Los Angeles Dodgers World Series parade while enjoying an offseason-long celebratory bender. (I wasn’t making it into work the next day, regardless).
You should love this signing for a few different reasons.
- The NL East is sneaky interesting/fun and will have a say in the NL wild-card game.
- The Phillies will be a major play in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes this winter.
- Every competitive move made by an NL East team makes Derek Jeter’s tear down of the Miami Marlins that much worse.
Best believe either the New York Mets or Phillies will be one of the teams playing in the NL wild-card game. The Mets lineup will be dong happy with Yoenis Cespedes, Todd Frazier, and Jay Bruce in the middle of it. For whatever its worth, Noah Syndergaard is throwing 1000 MPH this spring and looking like a potential CY Young candidate. A healthy Jacob deGrom and Thor make for one of the best 1-2 combos in baseball. A lot has to go right but beating up on the young Atlanta Braves and mercy-rule Marlins will be an asset in September.
The Phillies now have a viable 1-2 punch in their own right. Aaron Nola is coming off a career-year in 2017 and now has a CY Young winner with a postseason pedigree to learn from. It’s baffling that this aspect of the signings of guys like Eric Hosmer and Arrieta don’t get nearly enough credit. This team is on the opposite end of the spectrum than the Mets. Philadelphia will be relying heavily on a youthful offense, although, the addition of Carlos Santana to the lineup will help. Rhys Hoskins, Maikel Franco, and Odubel Herrera have shown flashes of carrying the load. If the Phillies are indeed in the hunt in late September and make a postseason run let’s not forget what advantage Citizens Bank Park could be.
It’s clearly the Nationals division to lose but it won’t be a cake walk.
Speaking of the Nats…they lost out on the Arrieta sweepstakes to a division rival. We don’t know how close the two parties came or if it was close at all. We do know that Washington’s superstar Bryce Harper mentioned how nice it would be to add a piece like Arrieta at the start spring training. The Nationals adding Arrieta would’ve made for an absurd postseason rotation but Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg is already one of the best. One could say that if you’ve underachieve as much as Washington has it doesn’t hurt to keep adding. Continue reading “The Potential Rise of the Phillies is Scary”