Depth is good. Minor league signings are never a terrible idea. That has always been my opinion about depth moves. This year is different, with the Mets being able to get good, young depth players for a limited cost with tons of player still free agents after Super Bowl Sunday is done. For the Mets, there is no reason to sign a washed up veteran starter. Jake Arrieta is that type of starter, who shouldn’t be on the table.
Jake Arrieta has been in deep decline over the last couple of seasons with the Phillies. After a mediocre 2019, he followed it up with an even worse 2020. His last solid season was in 2018, were he pitched to a 3.96 ERA over 172.1 innings. In that year, the decline was already starting to show with bad expected numbers across the board for him. It came to fruition the seasons after.
Over the last two seasons, Arrieta owns a 4.75 ERA over 180 innings. While that doesn’t seem terrible, his WHIP was at 1.48, showing that he allows too many baserunners. That in combination with him allowing more and more hard hit contact, it’s a recipe for disaster.
As you can see his expected numbers (xwOBA, xERA, xBA, xSLG) has been amongst the worst in the majors. It shows that the projections won’t be pretty for the 2021 season.
His main issue is how hitters hit his main pitch. Hitters have tons of success against his sinker (see graphic below).
This means his most thrown pitch is getting rocked. His Sinker had a negative 9 run value in 2020, which was 161st out of 164 pitchers who had thrown a sinker in at least 25 at bats. Matz, Roark and Gibson were the only pitchers with a worse sinker.
One positive about Arrieta was his slider run value in 2020. He had a positive 6 run value on that slider tied for 16th best with guys like David Peterson and Patrick Corbin. However, that same slider had a negative 4 in 2019 and his spin rates weren’t off the charts by any means.
If the Mets would be able to get Arrieta to use his good slider more and utilize it better who knows if he can find success. However, with his main pitch (sinker) being one of the worst in the league, I don’t see a reason for giving it a try. Especially with better pitchers avaliable on the market that also wouldn’t break the bank.