The Jake Arrieta sweepstakes may have a frontrunner, with rumors around the MLB that the Milwaukee Brewers are increasingly interested in the top free agent pitcher away from their division rival Chicago Cubs.
The Brewers have been connected to Arrieta for at least a few weeks now, but a new report from ESPN notes that the Brewers are showing a lot of interest in the right-hander. The Brewers will already be missing Jimmy Nelson for a chunk of the upcoming season as he recovers from shoulder surgery and have reportedly been looking to upgrade their stable of starting pitchers.
If the MLB rumors are true, it would see Arrieta jump from the Chicago Cubs to their NL Central rivals at a time when the 31-year-old pitcher is among the more reliable No. 1 starters. Arrieta has made at least 31 starts in each of the last three seasons, ESPN noted, including his Cy Young season in 2015.
There is still a chance that Jake Arrieta could return to the Chicago Cubs, Bleacher Report noted. His agent, Scott Boras, has said publicly that the Cubs have the money available to bring Arrieta back and continue the team’s World Series contention.
But as Matt Snyder of CBS Sports noted, the Milwaukee Brewers could actually be one of the big spenders this offseason. The team has strong ownership and a solid fan base — 10th in attendance last season, Snyder noted — and have committed only $32.1 million for next season plus arbitration and pre-arbitration players.
The team has only $31.5 committed for 2018 and $18.5 by 2020, Snyder reported, so they can have a lot of leeway in offering Jake Arrieta a big contract.
While the Milwaukee Brewers may not be among the traditional contenders in the National League, they managed 86 wins last season in the same division as the Chicago Cubs, and the addition of Jake Arrieta would likely make them a wild card contender, at the least.
And Jake Arrieta may not be the only target for the Milwaukee Brewers in their bid to take on the Chicago Cubs supremacy in the NL Central. Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported that they are also looking at some other big free agent starting pitchers, including Lance Lynn.
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