Update (7:02 PM ET): Heyman notes that Arrieta will earn $30 million, $25 million, and $20 million across his three-year deal. He can opt out of his contract after the second year. The deal also includes two options that can bring the value of the deal between $125 million and $135 million.
Update (5:22 PM ET): The three-year deal is for $75 million in total, per Nightengale.
Update (4:57 PM ET): Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports the multi-year deal (three years, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports) is agreed to in principle and is pending a physical.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Phillies are close to an agreement with free agent Jake Arrieta. No word yet on the length or total value of the reported deal.
As Ashley mentioned earlier, Arrieta was expected to sign with a team this week as free agent dominoes finally begin to fall. The Phillies have long been a rumored landing spot for Arrieta, along with the Nationals and Padres.
Arrieta, 32, finished last season with a 14-10 record, a 3.53 ERA, and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings for the Cubs. He was a bit more fly ball-prone than he had been in recent seasons, which led to yielding a few more home runs than he typically allows. Arrieta also lost 1.6 MPH on his average fastball velocity.
Arrieta makes a lot of sense for the Phillies, who are close to being legitimately competitive for the first time in quite a few years. Aaron Nola has already been named the Opening Day starter, so Arrieta will slot behind him and ahead of Jerad Eickhoff and Vince Velasquez. Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, and Mark Leiter are all battling for a rotation spot as well. Arrieta adds some stability to the rotation and will serve as a stabilizing force in an otherwise young clubhouse.
The first truly big free agent signing of the offseason has gone down: the Chicago White Sox just announced that they have signed catcher Yasmani Grandal to a four-year, $73 million deal.
Grandal, 31, was the best catcher available in free agency. He is coming off a fine year with the Milwaukee Brewers, with whom he had to settle for a one-year pact in 2019. He hit .246/.380/.468 with 28 homers and 77 driven in. It was his fourth straight season with 20+ homers. While his catching has been criticized due to some high-profile mistakes in the postseason, the two-time All-Star once again proved himself to be one of the best pitch-framers in the game if not the best. Between the bat and the glove he has a claim to being one of the best all-around catchers in baseball.
The signing leaves open the question of what happens to James McCann, who was himself an All-Star this year. It’s not that hard a question, of course, as Grandal is a far superior catcher to McCann in every respect. The Sox could make McCann a backup. Alternatively, they could try to trade him to fill other holes on the roster.
The White Sox finished 72-89 in 2019 but are showing signs of coming out of rebuilding mode and into contention mode. This signing pushes them a big step into that direction.