Market for Jake Arrieta is Heating Up

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Jake Arrieta is one of the most coveted free agent pitchers on the market this season. This isn’t just because of a down market either, he is a legit frontline starter on any team in the game. This is why Jake can command a $25 million AAV over five or six years. That is what pitchers like Jake are worth on the free agent market.

The Chicago Cubs and Scott Boras will be meeting during the Winter Meetings, and Theo Epstein confirmed as much. There certainly is mutual interest in a return, but the Cubs will hold fast on a four-year deal and Jake will continue to request six. Either case, we all assume he will earn in the neighborhood of $25 million a season. With the current news, however, Jake might not be available any longer.

Tuesday morning multiple sources have confirmed interest in Jake from multiple teams. The two most prominent have been the Philadelphia Phillies and the Washington Nationals.

The Phillies might be jumping into the free agent frenzy a year too soon. Most believe Philadelphia is a year away from being a contender. Jake could present an excellent chance for them to acquire an ace. They have money available to spend, seeing how 95% of their roster is built with players on rookie deals. They have the ability to open up the checkbook and pull in someone like Jake, who wouldn’t interfere with their ability to resign young, core players. A lot of Philadelphia’s management has a lot of experience with Jake, as they all came out of Baltimore. This could be a positive or a negative for Arrieta, as the Orioles attempted to “normalize” his mechanics.

The other team that Jon Heyman reports is in on Jake is the Nationals. This would make some sense. If the Nationals pitching staff wasn’t the best already, adding Jake it certainly would be. Jake would also reunite with Dave Martinez and Henry Blanco, who both left the Cubs following the season.

Perhaps more importantly, for the Nationals, is Jake can help them get over their first-round issues. Not only has Jake been an excellent pitcher through 162, his 3.08 playoff ERA is better than every Washington starter besides Stephen Strasburg. Having the Cubs and Dodgers ahead of them, Arrieta can close that gap.

These are two interesting landing spots for Jake, and you could make an argument for either having a chance to sign him. I would still expect the Texas Rangers to take a hard look at him, as well as the Brewers, Blue Jays, Twins, and Astros. I still feel the Rangers make the most sense. They did sign Doug Fister, there is plenty of room for Jake to be added to their rotation.

Whatever you think of Jake, and however long you believe he will be serviceable, he immediately upgrades every team’s rotation. It is no wonder why teams that are competing and on the cusp are interested.