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.
Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.
It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.
While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.
If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.