Arrieta has a relatively low 1,161 major-league innings on his arm at age 32, but a drop-off in performance and a decline in velocity last season generated some concerns about his staying power. "But what we can promise is that we're going to have conviction, we're going to fight, and we're going to win at the end of the day".
Arrieta is confident a team that won only 66 games last year is poised to contend under first-year manager Gabe Kapler.
"The fan base is hungry, " Arrieta said. "Even though we are technically in a rebuild, I think all the players would agree with me that we intend to win, rebuild or not".
Santana, catcher Cameron Rupp, third baseman Maikel Franco, outfielder Rhys Hoskins and a half dozen other Phillies players and coaches ringed the back wall of Arrieta's introductory news conference and listened to him preach commitment and accountability.
By the end of 2017, the Phillies were at a point in their rebuild where they had cleared the books of nearly any player making significant money.
"He's a competitor and he brings it every day and the way he goes about playing baseball is going to teach a lot of guys there's a lot of different ways to being successful and he's an example of that", Hunter said. "I'm glad I don't have to face him".
"It's a business. Am I upset of frustrated?"
The process of finding a new home may have taken longer than he expected, and he may not have gotten everything he wanted. "Absolutely not", Arrieta said. Alex Cobb, Jose Bautista, Matt Holliday, Melky Cabrera, Mark Reynolds and Greg Holland are among the players still unsigned. Boras said Arrieta included the Phillies on his initial wish list of teams at the start of the free agent season in November. "All the better for those who choose to be competitive but certainly it creates an irregularity in the system". It was called "Phillies: What will come of the rest of the offseason".
Middleton said he circled Arrieta's name as a potential target a few years ago and hoped the Phillies would be in the position to land a top-tier player. "I don't want to put that burden or that weight on one person to say one guy is going to transform an organization or a team".