Posted on November 26, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
One of the top free agent pitchers on the market this winter is Chicago Cubs ace Jake Arrieta. Other than Yu Darvish, there may be no better starting pitcher available this winter. Arrieta may also be among the first players to sign, especially with the market for position players stalled by trade rumors involving Giancarlo Stanton. At least five teams have been in contact with Arrieta so far, making it pertinent to look at each team’s chances of signing him.
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Blue Jays – 10%
Toronto shows no signs of wanting to rebuild, so they could make a serious effort for him. However, Arrieta’s next contract could approach $100 million, and the Blue Jays already have several sizable contracts on their payroll so they may not have the payroll flexibility required to sign Arrieta. But they’ve been in contact with him and could look for a creative solution in order to afford him.
Brewers – 20%
It’s already become clear that the Brewers are looking for a top-flight starter this winter. Arrieta appears to be one of their top targets. It’s unclear how the Brewers would fare if they get into a bidding war with other teams because they don’t typically shop at the top of the market. But the Brewers do have plenty of money to spend and there’s no denying that putting Arrieta at the top of their rotation would change how their roster looks heading into next season.
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Cubs – 10%
The Cubs are not one of the teams that has reportedly contacted Arrieta’s representatives. But they have to be seen as a possibility after Arrieta spent the last four and a half years in Chicago. If other teams are unwilling to give Arrieta a monster contract and the price remains reasonable, the Cubs would be more likely to jump and make an effort to re-sign Arrieta.
Rangers – 15%
The Rangers arguably need Arrieta the most out of any team. With Darvish set to sign elsewhere in free agency, the Texas rotation is lacking in depth behind Cole Hamels. Whether the Rangers have the money required to sign Arrieta is a different issue. But that need to sign a pitcher of his caliber could give them the motivation they need to make it happen.
Rockies – 10%
It was a little surprising to hear Colorado linked with Arrieta. The Rockies already have an impressive collection of young arms. However, adding a proven ace with postseason experience like Arrieta could help them get to the next level after reaching the Wild Card Game in 2017. Of course, they spent a lot of money last offseason, and many of their top players aren’t that cheap anymore. At this point, the Rockies are probably more of a dark horse, but clearly they have interest in signing Arrieta.
Twins – 20%
The Twins are another surprising favorite to sign Arrieta. They’ve not only been in contact with his representatives, but the twins have also been asking teams about acquiring a starter via trade. Right now, it’s a little more likely that they trade for a pitcher rather than shell out big bucks to sign Arrieta. However, after making the postseason this year, the Twins could look to take another step forward by bringing in an ace like Arrieta.
The Field – 15%
It’s still early in the process, so you can’t discount one of the teams that’s yet to reportedly make contact with Arrieta becoming a serious contender. The Phillies, for instance, are trying to make a big splash this offseason. The Nationals would like to go all-in for 2018, and Arrieta’s playoff experience could be valuable for them. The Braves, Mariners, are Cardinals are also among the teams that could be interested in a frontline starter like Arrieta.