Report: Nationals might pursue free agent pitcher Jake Arrieta
Jake Arrieta, the biggest-name starting pitcher remaining on the free agent market, might be pursued by the Washington Nationals, MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported Sunday.
Arrieta, 31, was 2015 National League Cy Young Award winner, and he helped guide the Chicago Cubs to a World Series title in 2016. His numbers were off in 2017, though, possibly depressing his market this winter.
The year's other star free agent starting pitcher, Yu Darvish, reportedly agreed to a six-year, $126 million deal with the Cubs on Saturday, likely signaling the end of Arrieta's time in Chicago.
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said of Arrieta at the winter meetings in December, according to SB Nation, "I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't talk about Jake Arrieta, one of the premier pitchers in the game ... He's a great pitcher, but we're nowhere close to doing anything."
Washington's rotation features four mainstays, Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark. The fifth spot could go to A.J. Cole, prospect Erick Fedde or Edwin Jackson.
Rizzo said in December of his starting staff, according to SB Nation, "We're really satisfied with what we've got. We've got ourselves a good rotation. We've got four horses at the top.
"We've got a Cy Young winner (Scherzer). We've got (Strasburg), who should win one and may win one, and Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark. We're solid (through) four. We've got good young starters behind (them) in A.J. Cole and Erick Fedde, and we feel comfortable where we're at.
"Where we'd like to add is (to the) depth, and so us and 29 other teams would like to have some depth starters, so that's kind of what we're looking for, and if we can find a good value out there, we will certainly investigate it."
Arrieta finished 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA in 30 starts last year. In 2015, he went 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA, leading the league in wins and sharing the lead in complete games (four) and shutouts (three). He followed that up by earning his first All-Star appearance in 2016 at the middle of an 18-8, 3.10 ERA season.
He spent the first 3 1/2 years of his Major League career with the Baltimore Orioles, compiling mediocre numbers before joining the Cubs in a one-sided trade on July 2, 2013. Chicago got Arrieta, reliever Pedro Strop and cash in exchange for right-hander Scott Feldman and backup catcher Steve Clevenger.
Arrieta owns a career 88-56 record with a 3.57 ERA in 197 games (191 starts).