MLB Trade Rumors predicted Jake Arrieta could become a Milwaukee Brewers pitcher this off season.
Recently, my colleague here at RtB, David looked into this potential blockbuster move. And while he did a very good job, the move for Arrieta could be a lot better for the Milwaukee Brewers than the picture first painted. Arrieta is still talented enough to be listed as the number four free agent this off season according to MLB Trade Rumors.
The only massive roadblock is money. Arrieta will cost quite a bit. But at the end of the day, would it not be worth it?
There was a two year span where Arrieta was essentially unhittable from 2014 to 2015. He was a dominating force on the mound. That was two years ago, but it is not like he has been bad. In 2017 he won 14 games with an ERA in the mid threes.
He still is not giving up all too much solid contact either. Arrieta’s BABIP almost mirrors itself almost perfectly over the last four seasons. In 2014 and 2017, the number sat just under .280. The marks in 2015 and 2016 were both in the .240s. So nothing has changed from his dominant days on the mound from the side of the hitters.
The change is in his walk rate and homerun rate. His walk per nine innings actually came down in 2017. However, his homerun numbers rose but about half a homerun per nine.
Most of the struggles last season happened during the first half of the year. He picked it up again after the All-Star break. Arrieta’s second half numbers boast six wins and an ERA in the low twos. His WHIP dropped 0.21 from his first half number as well.
Clearly he figured something out. At 32, Arrieta peaked fairly late. And he is not the pitcher that won the Cy Young award in 2015. But he is not too far removed from being that guy either. He showed that in the second half of 2017.
It would be nice to have a pitcher in the rotation, and on the staff, with several years of postseason experience. Not to mention his shiny ring. The Milwaukee Brewers are a talented group, that can’t be denied. But, the veteran presence that Arrieta would provide can go a long way.
And to address the walks issue, believe in Derek Johnson, the Milwaukee Brewers pitching coach. He is largely to do with the breakout of Chase Anderson. After a year working with him, Johnson brought the walk rate down by about half a walk an inning. And Anderson’s homerun rate dropped by almost one.
Obviously, Arrieta would be expected to perform right away. But he is already in a better starting place than Anderson. Not to mention the prospective free agent is way more established than Anderson was.
If a fair price can be reached, Arrieta would be a great addition to the Milwaukee Brewers pitching staff. He will command a lot of money, and that is the main issue. But, without a doubt he would be an improvement on the exiting Matt Garza.