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Machado talk goes on as latest Phillies rumor links team to Jake Arrieta

Yesterday’s Manny Machado rumor has mutated into a strain of a different type.

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Chicago Cubs Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

[Kicks in door to your bedroom]

Jake Arrieta wants $200 million. This comes from one MLB executive who is “under the impression” that Arrieta, a Scott Boras client, is seeking a long term deal.

Enter the Phillies, at least verbally. With all their open payroll and need for pitching, we woke up this morning in a world in which the team had been loosely linked to Arrieta, their second high profile player of interest at the MLB Winter Meetings in the last two days.

You know Jake Arrieta, the first-time free agent and former Baltimore cast-off with a 7.23 ERA through five starts in 2013 who was scooped up and reformed by the Cubs pitching staff into a 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner. Chicago managed to transform the right-hander into a starter whose tailing change-up and reliance on ground balls and swinging strikes led him to various accolades and playoff starts since their acquisition of him. The past two years have seen him return to this planet from his sky high 2015 performance, logging a 3.30 ERA over the last two seasons, with a 2.50 K/BB ratio in 2016 and a 2.96 K/BB in 2017, while leading the league in wild pitches both years (16 in 2016 and 14 in 2017). He also had a league-leading H/9 rate of 6.3 in 2016, and saw that number rise to 8.0 last year.

But there’s also reason to believe last year’s numbers weren’t as bad as they appeared to be. Arrieta was brutal in the first half, putting up a 4.35 ERA in 101.1 innings, allowing a .247/.320/.422 slash line against. He was far better in the second half, with a 2.28 ERA in 67 innings and hitters batting .213/.280/.394 against him.

The 31-year-old cross-trainer and kale juice enthusiast is also the owner of a Silver Slugger, whatever that’s worth to you.

The general idea has been the Phillies pushing through 2018 with some development to do, and then dumping wheelbarrows full of money on top of the free agents they desire come 2018. Pulling the trigger on Machado or Arrieta deals is being squinted at for the moment, despite the possibility technically existing. This all has an added narrative of the Phillies front office being comprised of a lot of ex-Orioles guys, all of whom see current and former Orioles like Machado and Arrieta through the lens of experience (though in Arrieta’s case, that “experience” was trying their best, cutting ties, and watching him help the Cubs defeat a hundred-year curse).

In regards to Machado, Jon Heyman offered this little bucket of cold water.

[Quietly closes door on way out of your bedroom]