With spring training games slated to start later this week, the chances seem high that remaining free agents find new homes.
J.D. Martinez recently inked a deal with the Red Sox while Eric Hosmer signed one with the Padres. The best player left is former Cubs Cy Young award winner Jake Arrieta, and the Phillies appear to be a perfect match.
Phillies and Jake Arrieta are having dialogue. Phils people (MacPhail, Klentak, Jordan, etc.) love him from their days in Baltimore together. Phils would prefer shorter term tho, so there’s a gap.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 20, 2018
As has been noted all offseason long, the Phillies need a starting pitcher. They also have money to spend. But with a youthful team, the Phils understandably want flexibility down the line — which means a shorter term deal for Arrieta. Clearly Arrieta, who is 31, wants a long-term pact. The money seems secondary to the length of the deal and according to Heyman the talks are ongoing.
Arrietta has, no doubt, other suitors, which is why the process has been so drawn out. Yu Darvish is replacing Arrieta in Chicago and signed a $125 million deal and a nine-figure contract could be Scott Boras' (Arrieta's agent) desire. But time is on Philadelphia's side and it would make sense for Arrieta to decide where he'll play sometime this week before spring training begins in earnest.
Lance Lynn, John Lackey and Alex Cobb remain as three of the other top free aget starters still waiting for a 2018 home.
Arrieta went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA last season — a down season for him — but still started this offseason as the fourth best free agent in baseball. It's also worth noting that Arrieta may prefer a National league club, as he won a Silver Slugger award for the best hitting pitcher back in 2016.