The Baltimore Orioles have a big hill to climb to get into the 2018 playoffs and that hill will be insurmountable without good pitching.
Yes, he already pitched in Birdland. And, it could be time for him to come back home.
After spending several seasons with the Chicago Cubs, many believed he would be asked back to pitch in Wrigley Field. Instead, the Cubs signed Tyler Chatwood, which is a very clear sign that Arrieta will not be back in the Windy City.
There are a few teams who have been rumored to be interested in Arrieta, but the Cy-Young-winning All-Star has yet to be signed by anyone. Arrieta and Yu Darvish are considered the two big pitchers in the current free agent class.
The pros and cons
There are several arguments against the O’s signing Arrieta. The first is his weak performance when he pitched in an Orioles uniform. The second is the price. Another is the fact that his mechanics are a little iffy and could lead to an untimely end to his career.
However, there are plenty of upsides to Arrieta, too. He pitched with the Orioles between 2010 and part of 2013. In those 3+ seasons, he had a 5.46 ERA and a WHIP of 1.472. In his 4+ seasons with the Cubs, he had an ERA of 2.73 and a WHIP of 1.034. The upside is that he simply became a better pitcher when he was in Chicago. He can take those skills to his new team and continue dominating on the mound.
Paying for Arrieta
Arrieta made $15.6 million in his final season with the Cubs. The prediction is that he could make $20 million in 2018. Consider that Ubaldo Jimenez made $13.5 million in 2017 pitching horribly for the Orioles. Fans deserve to see a good pitcher on the mound in Camden Yards.
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If the Orioles are going to go for it, they need arms that can support the goal. A decent contract for a handful of years with a few incentives for reaching the playoffs or getting into the Cy Young conversation could woo Arrieta to Baltimore. With Arrieta having an off year in 2017, it could be the right time to get him.
About those mechanics
Arrieta is frequently criticized for his mechanics, despite being incredibly fit. It is clear that he has no problem tweaking his mechanics, which is something that most pitchers need to do as they get older. Wherever Arrieta lands, be it Baltimore or elsewhere, his pitching coach will have to help adjust to the changes that happen with pitchers as they age. Older pitchers tend to develop more movement as their velocity slows.
As a pitcher who has incredibly healthy habits off the field, Arrieta should be able to make adjustments that could actually make him a better pitcher in his 30s than he was in his 20s. This, along with his warrior mentality is what would make Arrieta an asset for a team like the Orioles who are considering a big push for the post-season.