CLEARWATER, Fla. — The Philadelphia Phillies made their boldest move yet.
Two people familiar with the decision tell The Associated Press that free-agent ace Jake Arrieta and the Phillies have agreed to a three-year deal.
Both people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Sunday because the contract is pending a physical. The deal is reportedly worth $75 million. NBC Sports Philadelphia first reported the agreement.
The 32-year-old righty was among several top free agents who didn’t get a deal for six or seven years in a changing offseason market. The Phillies, who have plenty of money to spend, waited until the price was right for them.
Arrieta won the 2015 NL Cy Young Award with the Chicago Cubs and helped them win the World Series the next season. He was 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA last year.
Arrieta was 68-31 with a 2.73 ERA in five seasons in Chicago after starting his career in Baltimore. He’ll join Aaron Nola atop the Phillies’ rotation on a team that finished last in the NL East.
The Phillies haven’t had a winning season since 2011, but now have added veteran slugger Carlos Santana, Arrieta and quality relievers to a young nucleus that could show considerable improvement over last season’s 66-96 mark.
New manager Gabe Kapler’s motto throughout spring training has been: “Be Bold.” Players and coaches have been wearing T-shirts with those words on them and they’ve been using the phrase often in interviews.
Signing Arrieta is a message that management is ready to move past the rebuilding process.
The Phillies already have a lineup that has potential to be dynamic and a bullpen that could be formidable. Now they’ve added a proven No. 1 starter to a slew of young arms in the rotation.
Arrieta has started at least 30 games in three straight seasons, but he’s only pitched more than 200 innings once – 229 in 2015.
Arrieta had a 4.67 ERA in first 16 starts last season, but finished strong, going 7-4 with a 2.26 ERA in his final 14 outings.