Off He Goes: Jake Arrieta Signs with Phillies, Three Years and $75 Million (UPDATE: With Some Creative Terms)

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Off He Goes: Jake Arrieta Signs with Phillies, Three Years and $75 Million (UPDATE: With Some Creative Terms)

Chicago Cubs

You could say it was when the team signed Yu Darvish, or you could say it was when the season ended, or you could say it was the sides didn’t come to an agreement on a long-term extension years ago. Whenever you say the writing went up on that wall, it’s been clear for a little while that Jake Arrieta was not coming back to the Chicago Cubs.

Today, per multiple reports, Arrieta agreed to a three-year contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, which will guarantee him $75 million. A three-year deal is far short of what the 32-year-old Arrieta sought heading into the offseason, but the $25 million AAV is the most anyone is getting right now, and is higher than what Darvish got from the Cubs. So at least there’s that for him to hang his hat on.

[UPDATE: There are also some creative terms in there, which has become the vogue for free agents like Arrieta:

So, it’s one of those frontloaded-with-an-opt-out deals that we’ve seen a lot this offseason (including the Cubs’ deal with Yu Darvish), but how about that new wrinkle? The opt-out can be voided if the Phillies decide, “OK, we’ll make this a longer-term deal.” Back to the original post.]

We’ll get more into Arrieta’s time with the Cubs and the fallout from this deal in the coming days, but the short version high points:

  • The Cubs get a draft pick (and the associated bonus pool) after the second round for losing Arrieta, approximately in the 75 to 80 range. The bonus slot value of that pick range last year was about $725,000. (And recall, the Cubs also already got a pick in that range for Wade Davis, so the team now projects to have four of the top 80ish picks. They can make some hay with that …. )
  • At least Arrieta didn’t wind up with the Brewers or Cardinals on this reasonable, short-term deal.
  • … why didn’t they try to top this? Shrug. Whatever.
  • The Phillies already looked like a club on the cusp of turning the corner when you consider their percolating young talent, their massive reserves of cash, their overhauled front office and coaching staff, and the massive free agent class coming next year. Now, having added Arrieta and Carlos Santana, plus shored up the bullpen? ZiPS has the Phillies as a mere 74-win team, and Arrieta probably moves that, at most, a few wins. In other words, they’re still not going to project as a playoff contender. They’ll need big steps forward to get into the Wild Card race this year.
  • But next year? Watch out. If the Phillies are aggressive in free agency (they’ll have only two years left on the Arrieta and Santana deals, after all), they could move very quickly to the top of the NL East if the Nationals fall off.
  • Thank you and good luck to one of the best pitchers to sling the rock for the Cubs. Dang. It’s really weird to suddenly be confronted by the end of this era. But here we are.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.