The longer things linger on for MLB's top remaining free agents Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb, the better it is looking for potential suitors — particularly the Phillies.
"I expect them to sign one of the three but I don't think they feel any urgency to do so," MLBTradeRumors.com's Steve Adams said in a chat with baseball fans. "If they can get Lynn or Cobb at 1-2 years or Arrieta at 3 years (probably with a huge AAV and an opt out), then sure."
All three hurlers remain unsigned as the season approaches — less than a month away now. The leverage is more and more in the hands of the prospective teams now, and for the Phillies in particular.
They are in a unique situation. With the lowest payroll in baseball and one of the largest markets, they have cash to spend. But with a young team not expected to contend for a postseason spot, they are not in a position where they need to spend money.
The team wants a veteran arm and the trio of pitchers left available all are perfect fits, but Philadelphia does not want to commit to anything longterm.
Cobb and Lynn are each 30, and Arrieta is 31. All are still in their primes, but not far off from diminishing due to old age.
For now, the Phils are doing the best they can with a slew of unproven youngsters like Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, Zach Eflin and Ben Lively (and many others). Their rotation could very well prove to be the weakest part of a team expected to play much better in 2018 after losing 96 games a year ago.
It is altogether possible that with so much time having passed, Arrieta may simply be waiting for a team to suffer a serious injury to a top line pitcher and have no choice but to stay — if he really wants to cash in. It's a true waiting game.