With a big name from their starting rotation coming off shoulder surgery, the Milwaukee Brewers are showing early interest in Jake Arrieta.

Having spent the last four years being utterly dominated by free-agent starter Jake Arrieta, the Milwaukee Brewers are ramping up to make him an aggressive offer this winter. Arrieta, who is 8-4 with a 2.74 ERA in 15 career starts against Milwaukee, could make it easier for the team to deal with the loss of starter Jimmy Nelson, who is recovering from shoulder surgery. Nelson had emerged last season at the age of 28 to lead the rotation.

In the early going of the Hot Stove season, the Brewers stand out as an early contender to land Arrieta. They have the need for an ace, the financial means and the familiarity factor given their place in the NL Central.

Milwaukee may also be an attractive landing spot for Arrieta with their rapidly-blossoming young core of position players, including Travis Shaw, Domingo Santana, Orlando Arcia and Lewis Brinson. In addition to Nelson, who should return to the mound in the middle of the 2018 season, the Brewers have solid young starters in Zach Davies and Chase Anderson and a dominant closer in Corey Knebel.

The Brewers are trending upward at an exponential clip after winning 86 games last year and giving the Chicago Cubs about all they could handle in the race for the division title. With only $32.2 million committed to the 2018 roster and roughly $22 million more coming by way of arbitration raises, the Brewers are positioned very well to have a big offseason.

Turning 32 in March, this is Arrieta’s one chance to cash in as a free agent. He won’t quite command north of $30 million a year like David Price, Zack Greinke and Max Scherzer, but it will be close. Signing Arrieta would represent a watershed moment for the Brewers, as they have never been able to spend that type of cash. However, with their young core coming together and plenty of money to spend, the Brewers have what it takes to make at least one major free-agent signing.

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