In a move that was anticipated by absolutely everyone, Phillies pitcher Jake Arrieta exercised his $20 million option for 2020 over the weekend.
Arrieta inked a three-year, $75 million deal when he signed with the Phillies before the 2018 season. It contained an opt-out for this offseason or, alternatively, the player option for $20 million. After a year in which he posted an ERA of 4.64 in 135.2 innings over 24 starts, missing time due to bone spur surgery, there was no way he was going to get more than $20 million as a free agent, so he was wise to stick with the bird in the hand.
Still, the Phillies are actually saving $5 million on his services compared to this past season, as the $75 million deal was structured to have him make $30 million in 2018, $25 million in 2019, and $20 million next year. Given that he is expected to be back to full health well in advance of spring training, a bounce back season is not out of the question. And if he bounces back, that $20 million might be a pretty decent deal for Philly.
At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.
Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.
The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.
At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).