Jake Arrieta put on a red No. 49 Philadelphia Phillies jersey for the first time and sent a message to his new teammates and fans.
“We’re going to promise a fight,” Arrieta said Tuesday, a day after the ace righty finalized a $75 million, three-year contract that could be worth up to $135 million over five seasons. “We’re going to have conviction and we’re going to fight and we’re going to win.”
The Phillies haven’t had a winning season since 2011, when they won their fifth straight NL East title. But the addition of Arrieta signals the end of a long, arduous rebuilding process.
“We’re serious about winning and we’re going to do what it takes to win,” co-owner John Middleton said.
Arrieta is confident a team that won only 66 games last year is poised to contend under first-year manager Gabe Kapler. The Phillies spent big in free agency, signing slugger Carlos Santana and relievers Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek. They have a solid core of young hitters and their rotation could be formidable with Aaron Nola and Arrieta at the top.
“I knew this was an organization that was hungry to win,” Arrieta said. “A rebuild doesn’t mean you can’t win now. I intend to come in here and win right away.”
Arrieta joined the Chicago Cubs in a trade from Baltimore in 2013 during a 66-96 season. The Cubs won 73 games in 2014 and were considered a year or two away from contention when Joe Maddon took over as manager in 2015.