Law: Even on a three-year deal, declining Jake Arrieta a strange fit for Phillies

Jake Arrieta is a big name with an impressive resume, but how does his aging arm fit the rebuilding Phillies' timeline? AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

The Philadelphia Phillies weren't really players for major free agents earlier this winter -- everyone expected them to be serious bidders in next winter's potentially epic free agent class -- but with Opening Day less than three weeks away, they took advantage of the soft market by signing Jake Arrieta to a three-year deal.

As dangerous as long-term contracts can be for pitchers, teams just kept handing them out for the past two decades, so three years is shockingly short for a pitcher who, while not Cy Young caliber any more, is still a well above-average starter. The fit here, however, is a strange one, with the Phillies still in the early stages of a rebuild, coming off a 66-96 season, and probably not contending until 2019 or 2020 at the earliest.