8 MLB pitchers that need to deliver for postseason hopefuls

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 26: Jose Urquidy #65 of the Houston Astros delivers the pitch against the Washington Nationals during the second inning in Game Four of the 2019 World Series at Nationals Park on October 26, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 26: Jose Urquidy #65 of the Houston Astros delivers the pitch against the Washington Nationals during the second inning in Game Four of the 2019 World Series at Nationals Park on October 26, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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Phillies
Philadelphia’s Jake Arrieta. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images. /

8 MLB pitchers that need to deliver for contenders

Jake from Philly

The Phillies signed Jake Arrieta prior to the 2018 season to lead them to a divisional title…or three. Why else would you pay a guy $75 million over three seasons with $22.5 million options for two more seasons?

Over the first two seasons of that deal, the Phillies have gotten an 18-19 record and cumulative 4.18 ERA. That performance level is pretty much in line with what the Phillies usually get when they throw big money at a player, but likely less than they expected.

Entering 2020, Arrieta is the projected No. 3 starter behind Aaron Nola and free-agent acquisition Zack Wheeler. That staff is supposed to lift the Phillies to something better than the fourth-place status in the NL East that got manager Gabe Kapler fired.

Arrieta has a track record. He was the 2015 Cy Young Award winner for the Cubs and a key member of their 2016 World Series winning rotation. None of that, however, helps the Phillies. His two seasons in Philadelphia have produced truly ordinary results: ERA+s of 104 and 97 and a 1.35 average WHIP.

It’s too much to ask of Arrieta to return to his 2015-16 glory days. But the Phillies would settle for 2017, the season he went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA in 30 starts and 168 innings before signing that sweet deal.

The NL East is perceived to be pitching-rich, with Atlanta, New York and Washington all viewed as serious contenders. If Arrieta isn’t something better than average, the Phillies probably don’t have the mound depth to win consistently in a pressure-packed race.