Jake Arrieta arrives, ready to accelerate Phillies' pursuit of a title

Jake Arrieta arrives, ready to accelerate Phillies' pursuit of a title

The Phillies' ability to make a late, somewhat surprising strike on Arrieta reflected the state of the market and some concerns over Arrieta's 2017 numbers and long-term durability. Can the Phillies at least push.500? It's the second major addition the Phillies have made through free agency after signing first baseman Carlos Santana in December. Nola, fresh off a breakout season (3.54 ERA, 3.27 FIP in 168 innings), looks like a potential ace.

Philadelphia will lose its third-highest pick in the June amateur draft, now 79th, and $500,000 in worldwide signing bonus pool allocation, and the Cubs will get an extra draft pick at the end of the first round. The team has been rebuilding the past few years with young prospects but has begun to sign veterans so they can start being competitive while developing young players. 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. Jerad Eickhoff and Vince Velasquez, the two starters behind him, have yet to break through because of injuries and inconsistent performance. The Phillies also added Pat Neshek, Tommy Hunter and Felix Rodriguez to their bullpen. It may be possible, but the near future of the Phillies looks a bit brighter now. Coming off a last-place finish, that team was considered a year or two from contention but wound up winning a wild-card berth and reaching the NLCS.

Alas, that's probably not realistic.

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The showing of some of the young players has given fans some hope. The 2017 Twins improved from the worst record in baseball to a postseason spot behind talented 20-somethings. Both players are in the final year of their contracts. Sometimes young stars figure things out all at once. Before the Arrieta signing, Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA projected the Phillies for 78 wins, a figure that should rise two or three ticks with the former Cy Young victor onboard.

In 2012, Arrieta tweeted, "Where's the best cheesesteak in Philly?" "We intend to win - rebuild or not".

But with the NL East nearly laughably weak, particularly if Mets' starters again fail to stay on the mound, the Phillies can't be discounted as a sleeper contender. It was called "Phillies: What will come of the rest of the offseason".

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