Jake Arrieta's name has again popped up on the hot stove rumor mill this offseason and it seems the Nationals are the team that is looking to sign the ACE this offseason, the 2015 National League Cy Young Award winner who is arguably the best starter on the market.
The standstill market among the most high-profile free agents continues, and it's unclear if the dust will settle before next week, when pitchers and catchers report.
Could Nationals pursue Arrieta?
Linking the relationship between Scott Boras, Arrieta's agent, and Boras' relationship with Nationals owner Tom Werner, USA Today's Bob Nightengale speculated a potential union between the two parties in a Feb. 7 report, though Nightengale referenced no indication that they were engaged in active discussions.
The Boston #Redsox and Cleveland #Indians talked about potential Edwin Encarnacion and Jackie Bradley swap during winter that died on the vine. Will Redsox revisit or keep waiting for JD Martinez. Predictions on Elite Eight remaining free agents https://t.co/SNHzM4OlrB— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) 7 de febrero de 2018
The Nationals had expressed interest in Arrieta during the Winter Meetings, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, as a potential option to shore up the back end of its already formidable rotation. General Manager Mike Rizzo said at the time that he would be comfortable with in-house options, such as A.J. Cole or Erick Fedde, taking the fifth rotation spot to follow Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark.
In Washington, Arrieta would be the third power right arm to go with Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, who are also Boras clients. Boras has struck deals worth a combined $385 million for the two since the '15 offseason. Boras also represents Bryce Harper, who is expected to net among the most lucrative free agent deals in history next winter. -- This report was first posted on Feb. 7.
Arrieta appears ready to hold out for right deal
Arrieta, who is entering his age-32 season and is just two years removed from a historic season in 2015, finished the 2017 campaign with a 3.53 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP in 30 starts. He was among the most significant pieces of a multiyear Cubs rebuild that culminated with a championship in '16, and he has been linked to several clubs this offseason.
In January, USA Today reported that the Cubs would be willing to bring Arrieta back on a four-year, $110 million deal, though it's believed that the right-hander is seeking a longer deal. The Brewers, who have fortified their lineup but are still in need of a top-of-the-rotation starter, are believed to have made a similar offer in length. CBS Chicago's Bruce Levine reported in early January that the Cardinals have also shown interest in Arrieta.
Levine reported in November that the starting point for negotiations between clubs and Boras were in the six-year, $160 million range. While it seems unlikely that Arrieta will net a contract of that figure, the highly competitive hurler appears to be willing to wait for the right offer.
The standstill market among the most high-profile free agents continues, and it's unclear if the dust will settle before next week, when pitchers and catchers report. -- This report was first posted on Jan. 3.