Jake Arrieta was one of the most popular names heading into the MLB offseason, but he has yet to sign with a new team. His time with the Chicago Cubs seems to have come to an end with his former team signing Yu Darvish, which means that Arrieta could be looking at an NL Central rival as a potential landing spot.
That’s right, the St. Louis Cardinals could be the best landing spot left for Arrieta to sign with.
Whether he signs a one-year deal and hits the free agency market again next offseason, or whether he agrees to a long-term deal, the Cardinals need to do everything in their power to sign him. Bringing in a star pitcher like Arrieta would be the perfect way to finish off what has been a very aggressive offseason for the franchise.
St. Louis has been busy this offseason, most notably acquiring star outfielder Marcell Ozuna in a blockbuster trade from the Miami Marlins, as ESPN reported. They have made it clear that they are done playing second fiddle to the Cubs. Even the Milwaukee Brewers have made aggressive moves this offseason in an attempt to win the division title.
Last season with the Cubs, Arrieta struggled with inconsistency. He ended the year with a 14-10 record to go along with a 3.53 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. Arrieta may not have had a huge season, but he was still a key piece for the Cubs and would immediately beef up the Cardinals’ rotation.
Inside Baseball: Where's Jake Arrieta going to sign? Here are the leading landing spots: https://t.co/Ib7AbqFgI5
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 22, 2018
If the Cardinals were to sign Arrieta, they would be able to trot out a rotation around him that includes Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha, and Adam Wainwright. Miles Mikolas is another offseason pickup that many are intrigued to watch in St. Louis this season.
At 31 years of age, Arrieta is still undervalued. Just a few short years ago in 2015, Arrieta put up one of the best seasons in recent MLB history for a starting pitcher. He finished that season with a stunning 1.77 ERA and a 22-6 record. Arrieta may never be that dominant again, but for a struggling Cardinals’ rotation, he would be exactly what the doctor ordered.
All of that being said, Arrieta is not going to sacrifice his desire just to sign with the Cardinals. He is looking for a fair deal that rewards the production he has had in Chicago over the past few seasons. St. Louis may not end up wanting to pay the price that it will take to sign him, but they certainly should.
Overtaking the Cubs will not be an easy task for any team in the NL Central, or the National League as a whole for that matter. Joe Maddon and company have put together a lethal offense and they have a rotation that features Darvish, Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, and Jose Quintana.
Signing Arrieta will not match the Cubs’ rotation for St. Louis, but it certainly would help them compete.
Expect to hear more news come out about Arrieta in the coming weeks. The regular season is just around the corner and it seems unlikely that he will remain a free agency too much longer.
That being the case, the Cardinals shouldn’t waste any more time and should make an aggressive offer to Arrieta and prove once again that they are all-in when it comes to knocking off the Cubs.