When MLBTR projected Jake Arrieta, one of the top and priciest free agents on the market, to the Milwaukee Brewers, the projection was met by more than a few eyebrows.
At the time, our skepticism was about the four years he got on his deal, not so much the landing spot – after all, as a team about to turn the corner in their rebuilding process, signing a big free agent like Jake Arrieta could make a whole lot of sense for the Brewers.
And, well, here you go:
Source: #Brewers showing interest in free agent Jake Arrieta. With Jimmy Nelson expected to miss portion of 2018 after shoulder surgery, team is looking for top-of-the-rotation upgrades. @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 20, 2017
The fit is rather obvious, as the Brewers have a ton of young positional talent, but really needed another arm last year. And with Nelson out for a while, that need has only gone up.
In Arrieta, the Brewers would get an immediate rotation upgrade, even if I have my reservations about his ability to continue pitching at an ace level after heavy usage with the Cubs, and a steep velocity decline in 2017. Arrieta struggled through April and part of May, but once he harnessed his command a bit, he was able to work with the decreased velocity to start generating weak contact again. He was so good by August that he was the NL’s Pitcher of the Month. Then, of course, he had the hamstring injury in September that derailed his year until he made a very good start against the Dodgers in the NLCS.
Do I think he can still be very good? Absolutely. Is he alone enough to move the Brewers up a tier in the NL Central race? Probably not. As part of a thoughtful offseason, though, it could still be a good move.
We’ll see if they actually step up with the kind of offer Arrieta is going to be looking for, though. It’s unreasonable at this junction in the offseason to believe he’ll be settling for less than five years and something well north of $100 million. Perhaps if he finds the market is tight and the huge contract is not there, then maybe he becomes a more reasonable fit for the Brewers (but, then, that would be true of many other teams, too, including the Cubs).
Given the obvious ramifications for the Cubs, we’ll keep a close eye on this one.