Outside of informed speculation, there hasn’t been too much in the way of rumors connecting interested teams to free agent Jake Arrieta. Some of that is because the market as a whole has yet to start shaking out, and some of it is because Arrieta’s agent, Scott Boras, is notoriously deliberate in building demand for his players.
But the interest is out there for Arrieta, 31, who forms a clear top of the market together with Yu Darvish.
We do know that the Brewers have interest, and now Nick Cafardo adds four more teams that have reached out to Arrieta’s agent: the Twins, Blue Jays, Rockies, and Rangers. He also leaves open the possibility, as we would, too, that the Cubs could try to re-sign Arrieta. (My sense on that front, though, is that the Cubs will only be serious on re-signing Arrieta if his market doesn’t explode into the five or six-year range that is currently expected.)
As for the five interested teams, the Brewers, Rockies, and Twins make sense – as we talked about yesterday – as teams that are young, turning the corner, and looking to complement their talent base with much-needed free agent imports. Even if the bidding for Arrieta goes well in excess of $100 million, I wouldn’t necessarily count those teams out.
The Rangers are a no-brainer fit, not only because Arrieta is from Texas, but also because they have a significant need in the rotation and they have the money.
The Blue Jays are a tougher fit, in my view, seeing as they are coming off a year in which they were 10 games under .500, have Josh Donaldson just a year away from free agency, have a solid rotation already, and seemingly need bats. I still wouldn’t rule out a short-term rebuild by the Jays. They had the worst offense in the AL by wRC+ last year, and Arrieta would seem a strange way to turn that around.
My guess is there are several more teams that are interested in a preliminary way at this point (Angels? Dodgers? Giants? Braves? Phillies?), even if they’re not yet popping up in reports.
If and when Arrieta signs with a new team, because he is a qualified free agent, the Cubs will receive a draft pick after the second round in 2018 as compensation.