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Phillies pitcher Jake Arrieta will not exercise opt-out this winter

Jake Arrieta, Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Jake Arrieta will not exercise his second year opt-out with the team after a subpar 2019 campaign, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

Arrieta battled through a number of issues in 2019, posting an 8-8 mark with a 4.64 ERA in 24 starts. He missed half of August and all of September after undergoing surgery to remove a bone spur in his right elbow, which he had been pitching with for the majority of the season.

The 2015 National League Cy Young Award winner was the marquee signing for the Phillies prior to the 2018 season, and he initially seemed to validate the three-year, $75 million deal with a solid first half. In 18 starts before the All-Star break, Arrieta posted a 3.23 ERA and .675 OPS against.

However, the wheels fell off in the second half. Arrieta’s OPS against mark rose to .793 and he posted a 5.04 ERA in 13 starts, despite a marked increase in his K/9 rate.

Given the issues that he had in 2019, there was no way that Arrieta would opt out of the $20 million he will make next season, because he would not come close to that number on the open market.

Of course, Arrieta could live up to that AAV with a good showing in 2020. Perhaps the removal of the bone spur will give him new life and reinvigorate the use of his once-dominant slider.

However, the hefty price tag certainly restricts Philly’s flexibility in free agency. General Matt Klentak was praised for his acquisitions last winter, but there will be pressure to add a number of quality pitchers–both in the rotation and bullpen–this time around.