As one of the top players to hit MLB free agency this offseason, it is a marvel that Jake Arrieta remains unsigned. Jake Arrieta has a resume that would suggest he should be on an MLB team’s roster now as spring training is officially underway.
Jake Arrieta has a Cy Young award and is a World Series champion with the Chicago Cubs. Both happened in the 2016 season, less than 18 months ago. Why Jake Arrieta sits unsigned is one of the biggest mysteries of the offseason, especially since most of the top free agents are now finding homes.
The two MLB teams that have generated the most buzz regarding a Jake Arrieta signing are the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals. Both teams could use a top-of-the-rotation pitcher such as Arrieta. Also, both teams have additional needs on their roster.
According to the Washington Post, the Nationals are reportedly leery of Jake Arrieta’s asking price, which has been rumored to be staggering for this year’s free agency market. With superstar outfielder Bryce Harper set to hit free agency next offseason, the Washington Nationals are expected to make wise financial decisions. Meeting Arrieta on his full contract demands may be a stretch at this moment.
What Jake Arrieta and his agent, Scott Boras, were originally looking for was a contract in the ballpark of $200 million, according to CBS Sports. Thus far, every MLB team that has had interest in Jake Arrieta has balked and allowed the free agency market to fall to them.
Those contract demands Jake Arrieta made in December have since diminished. Much of that is thanks to the six-year, $126 million deal (courtesy of MLB.com) once fellow free agent Yu Darvish signed with Arrieta’s former team, the Chicago Cubs.
The terms that the Chicago Cubs signed Yu Darvish to should have acted as a blueprint for Jake Arrieta. However, it is possible that Arrieta may be asking for slightly more. A contract of six years and $130 million could be what Jake Arrieta is seeking.
If so, it would solidify Jake Arrieta as the highest paid pitcher from this year’s free agency class. Arrieta would get $4 million more than what the Cubs gave Yu Darvish and receive justification for his diligence. Such contract demands could be why the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals have taken a pause.
Not only would the Washington Nationals have to cough up a huge payday for Jake Arrieta, but they would also lose a draft pick plus $1 million in their international spending pool. The Philadelphia Phillies would be in a similar situation, but their salary structure is in an advantageous position.
As of now, there is not a frontrunner to land Jake Arrieta. It is difficult to get a true gauge on Jake Arrieta’s market due to the fact that there is not an abundance of MLB teams bidding against each other.
Where Jake Arrieta pitches next may not be decided until deep into spring training. This week, the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals are the teams with developing interest, but only at the right price. Ruling out the Milwaukee Brewers as a contender for Jake Arrieta would be unwise.