While the rest of the industry has largely turned away from free agency as the preferred method of acquiring players - a trend that has inflamed labor relations and left many players still scrambling for jobs - the Phillies have treated these past 4½ months as some sort of game-show shopping spree, where they have to fill up their cart with as many shiny products as possible and get to the checkout counter before the clock runs out. Last year, Arrieta's velocity dipped to 92.1 miles per hour and he went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA. If any one of the Bermuda Triangle Kids (Eickhoff-Pivetta-Velasquez) can find his way, and if ownership moves for a fourth starter, well, that's not bad in this era of five-inning starters followed by a parade from the bullpen. He threw two no-hitters. Can they stay in a wild card race?
Arrieta won the 2015 NL Cy Young Award and was a member of the Cubs' 2016 World Series Championship team.
But when the Philadelphia Phillies unveiled new ace Jake Arrieta on Tuesday, the big moment came along the sunny Gulf Coast of Florida, almost a month into spring training, 16 days from Opening Day - a reality that added another layer of intrigue and altered the typical atmosphere of these ceremonies, turning parts of Arrieta's introduction into something more resembling a pep rally. He has started at least 30 games over the last three seasons.
On Monday night, Arrieta tweeted a heartfelt thank-you letter he wrote to Chicago.
In the midst of what felt like never ending adversity and failure, I was traded to the Chicago Cubs, on July 2nd, 2013.
He says in his letter he was on the verge of walking away from baseball before beginning a "transformation" in Chicago. "We're here now. It's a tremendous honor and I look forward to making this organization proud".
Scott Boras was present during the introduction presser, who was able to get his client $25+ million per year for the first two years of his deal. Childhood dreams turned reality, thanks to so many incredible people, all holding one another to a very high standard. Going the extra mile to take care of our families was never taken for granted. I was lucky to have dedicated team-mates that willingly shed blood, sweat, and tears to achieve our goals. He'll now become a veteran ace of a young rotation and looks forward to "competing [against the Cubs] on opposite sides moving forward". "Thanks for the memories".
Jake Arrieta understands why Philadelphia Phillies fans are ready for a victor. The Phillies forfeited their second-highest selection and $500,000 in global bonus allocation when they signed Santana to a $60 million, three-year contract.