The end of Jake Arrieta’s unemployment may finally be near.
According to USAToday;s Bob Nightengale, Arrieta will be signing within “the next couple of days” and the Phillies are the favorites to ink him to a deal.
Talks are heating up with Jake Arrieta, who’s expected to sign in the next couple of days. Several teams remain involved, but the #Phillies looming as the favorite
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) March 11, 2018
The timing makes sense, as the first domino finally dropped in the free agency impasse as Lance Lynn signed a one-year, $12 million deal with the twins. That price could set the market, and the Phillies no doubt will be drooling for the chance to sign a former Cy Young winner to a one or two year deal at even twice that price.
Arrieta recently turned 32 and is fresh off a 14-10 season with a 3.53 ERA in Chicago. He has been rumored to have been in discussions with the Phillies since February, after the Cubs chose to sign Yu Darvish instead of Arrieta.
The biggest hang up for Philadelphia is that they are young and still rebuilding. Since Arrieta turned down a qualifying offer with Chicago, the Phils will need to surrender their second best draft pick if they want to sign Arrieta, as well as $500,000 from their international signing bonus stockpile.
Arrieta would become an anchor for a young unproven Phillies pitching staff, headlined currently by Aaron Nola and supported by unknowns like Zach Eflin, Ben Lively, Mark Leiter Jr., Vince Velasquez and others.
The 2018 regular season is just about three weeks away, and Arrieta would need to sign soon if he intends to be ready to pitch on opening week.