SARASOTA, Fla. -- Phillies first baseman Carlos Santana said manager Gabe Kapler had a smile on his face Sunday when he told him that Jacob Arrieta agreed to a contract with the Phillies."It felt like he was very happy," Santana said after a 4-0 loss to the Orioles in a
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Phillies first baseman Carlos Santana said manager Gabe Kapler had a smile on his face Sunday when he told him that Jacob Arrieta agreed to a contract with the Phillies.
"It felt like he was very happy," Santana said after a 4-0 loss to the Orioles in a Grapefruit League game at Ed Smith Stadium. "I'm happy, too."
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Arrieta, 32, is an instant upgrade to a rotation that entered Spring Training with questions about its durability and reliability. Arrieta won the National League Cy Young Award with the Cubs in 2015, and has a 2.67 ERA over the past four seasons.
The veteran right-hander should make the Phillies a more formidable foe this season. Kapler said last month that the Phillies had the opportunity to "shock people" this season. Arrieta's arrival only increases those postseason possibilities.
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"I don't know if that changes our ultimate goal," Rhys Hoskins said. "I think it's always been the same, but if you get a chance to add someone like this, it's only going to make us better. Obviously, it's exciting. Very, very exciting. I'm glad I don't have to face him. But yeah, I think [the postseason is] nearer to us than most people think."
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Because the three-year contract worth $75 million is pending a physical, Kapler spoke in hypotheticals about Arrieta's arrival.
But, yes, the first-year manager is thrilled.
"Look, if Jake Arrieta is a Phillie, of course I'm going to be exceptionally excited," Kapler said. "Love everything about the guy. The crossfire delivery creates all sorts of deception. We all know about the success that he had in Chicago. It would be awesome if Jake ends up in Philly.
"Speaking hypothetically, he's a tremendous leader. So many people have said nice things about him. Obviously the track record of success -- I don't want to curb any enthusiasm here. He would be an incredible boost to our rotation. I think he would be a great leader in the clubhouse. I think our players would follow his lead in many ways and lean on his experience."
If Aaron Nola and Arrieta pitch as expected and one or two other starters click, the Phillies should be more competitive than perhaps expected.
"A guy like that, he's really good for an up-and-coming team like ours with a lot of young pitchers," said Nick Pivetta, who allowed three runs in 4 2/3 innings on Sunday night against the Orioles. "I think he can have a lot of impact on young pitchers, whatever the rotation is going to be. I think a guy like that is going to be good."
Kapler praised non-roster invitee utility player Pedro Florimon, who is competing for a bench job. He went 2-for-3 on Sunday against Baltimore and is hitting .304 (7-for-23) this spring.
"He had a drag bunt that was beautiful, perfectly placed," Kapler said. "Executed with just the right timing, crisp turns around the bases. Understands the game really well. He's just doing a really strong job the past couple days."
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.