Jake Arrieta Rumors: Nationals to Target SP After Cubs Sign Yu Darvish

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistFebruary 12, 2018

FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 18, 201,7 file photo, Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta throws during the first inning of Game 4 of baseball's National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Chicago. Cubs pitchers Arrieta and Wade Davis  were among nine free agents who turned down $17.4 million qualifying offers from their teams Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)
Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

The Washington Nationals "have emerged as a suitor for some of the remaining free-agent starters on the market, including [Jake] Arrieta," per Jon Paul Morosi of MLB.com.

In that same report, Jon Heyman of MLB.com noted, "The Nationals, meanwhile, are looking to make a deep postseason run, and Arrieta could take an already strong rotation to the next level. General manager Mike Rizzo reportedly loves the idea of adding someone like Arrieta, but Washington is also concerned with remaining below the luxury-tax threshold." 

Mark Feinsand of MLB.com also reported that the Nationals had expressed interest in Arrieta at the winter meetings, per MLB.com's story.

The Nationals won't be alone in their pursuit of the star pitcher, however. Per Heyman, the Milwaukee Brewers and Minnesota Twins are now the favorites to land Arrieta with Yu Darvish off the market, and the Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals are also in the fray.

The Nationals would have a stacked pitching staff were they to sign Arrieta, with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark already headlining a strong crop of starting pitchers. Arrieta would bolster their chances of winning their first World Series. 

Arrieta, 31, didn't have a vintage season in 2017 with the Chicago Cubs, though he still finished 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 163 strikeouts in 168.1 innings. It was his worst ERA and WHIP and lowest strikeout total since the 2013 season.

The Cubs decided to move on from Arrieta, instead signing Darvish.

Still, Arrieta remains a top-notch pitcher, albeit perhaps no longer the player who was dominant in 2015, when he won a Cy Young Award. But in Washington, he would be the No. 3 option on the staff, making him surely the best third option in baseball.

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