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DENVER — Jake Arrieta’s work on the pitcher’s mound is over for 2018. But there are still pitches he can make for the Phillies.

Arrieta now turns into a recruiter. Bryce Harper. Manny Machado. Patrick Corbin. They will all be free agents this winter. Arrieta was in a similar position last winter and chose the Phillies. He is ready to make his pitch.

“We’re not far away,” he said. “I think that’s pretty obvious. There’s some good ones out there that could definitely add to our ability to win ballgames. I’ll talk to guys. I want to win and if there are guys in the Phillies’ sights, absolutely. Any way we can get better in any area I would like to be a part of helping that come to fruition if I’m able to. 

“From afar, I’m pretty sure most of them are aware of what we’re capable of with the group here and if certain guys are added to this mix, things look pretty bright for us.”

Harper, the power-hitting outfielder, is the top name on the market and you can be sure the Phillies will pursue him, as well as the aforementioned Machado, a power-hitting left-side infielder and Corbin, a left-handed starting pitcher.

Arrieta and Harper share an agent in Scott Boras. Rhys Hoskins, Nick Williams and Vince Velasquez are also represented by Boras. Ultimately, money will determine where the top free agents go — and the Phillies have lots of it. But that doesn’t mean someone like Arrieta can’t get in the ear of someone like Harper, whose power, on-base skills and competitive sneer could really help the Phillies.


Arrieta admitted he’s already answered some questions about the Phillies from pending free agents. This is not uncommon. Ballplayers talk, you know.

“A little bit,” Arrieta said. “Not necessarily at length yet because, you know, we’re all kind of still finishing up our seasons individually. And with respect to their current organizations we haven’t done a lot of talking, but just some chatter here and there, some friendly, 'Hey, it would be nice to have you next year.' That stuff happens. We’ll have some more serious conversations in the next couple of weeks, I’m sure.”

Arrieta finished his season with six innings of three-run ball in the Phillies’ 5-3 loss to Colorado Thursday afternoon. He went 10-11 with a 3.96 ERA in 31 starts. Thursday’s loss gave the Phils an 0-8 road trip and dropped them to 78-81 with three games to play against Atlanta. They must win all three to avoid a sixth-straight losing season, a mind-blowing reality considering they led the NL East at 15 games over .500 in early August.

“I would like to have been better,” Arrieta admitted. “The last month and a half, things kind of got out of hand, the numbers got inflated.”

Things got out of hand for the team, as well.

“We all carry some responsibility for that,” Arrieta said. “Moving forward, we know we don’t want to feel like this again. We want to continue to play into October and we didn’t make that happen and we had an opportunity to. We have to learn from this and show up to Clearwater ready to go and with certain things in mind that we’d all like to get better at. And if we do that as a group we’re going to be pretty good next year.”

Especially if Arrieta can land some pitches on the free-agent market …

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