Jake Arrieta was a key member of the Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series win. After that, he got a big three-year contract with the Phillies and it just didn’t pan out. Now, Arrieta will be working his way back from a late season hamstring injury, and looking to sign with a contender.
Joining the Cleveland Indians is a smart move for Arrieta, who can recover from injuries while being asked to be a back-end rotation member. If the Indians contend, he brings postseason experience and top of the rotation stuff when right. If the Indians falter, he’ll be a valuable trade asset for any contender.
Due to his lackluster three seasons in Philadelphia, and his injuries, he won’t be getting a major contract. Spotrac estimates his market value as $6.5mil in 2021. That’s high for what the Indians appear ready to spend, but the money is still there.
I’ve mentioned his poor Phillies seasons, but that is relative. They signed him expecting him to be a Cy Young contender. He still started over 30 games in 2018-19, and a 4.50 ERA, give or take, over those three seasons.
The problem with Arrieta is that he is very bad against lefties. Teams are already stacking lefties when they face the Indians and since 2018 lefties are hitting .299 off of him. Those numbers aren’t good for a top three starter, but for Cleveland their luxury is that any free agent pitcher would be their fifth starter at best.
The Indians depth is what will also make it less likely they’ll spend any significant investment on a starting pitcher. The player may not even make the rotation in an open competition.
If the Indians do sign a starting pitcher, who makes sense to you? It feels like it will be a spring training invitee listing of veterans who will try and catch on.