Jake Arrieta has no shortage of teams wanting his services, but at this point in his career which team is a better fit for him?
Jake Arrieta is coming off somewhat of a disappointing season due to injuries. Those injuries had a lot to do with statistically his worst season in the last three years. That being said Arrieta is a World Series champion, and his agent is Scott Boras so whoever signs him is going to overpay for his services.
In the past three seasons Arrieta’s innings, strikeouts, fastball velocity, groundball percentage, ERA, and xFIP have all gotten worse each season. Fortunately for Arrieta, he’s only 31; I say only because in baseball you can pitch well into your late 30’s should you learn to pitch and not just throw case in point CC Sabathia.
The Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers have all reportedly offered Arrieta a contract. The Cubs reportedly offering a four-year deal worth $110 million. The Houston Astros and Washington Nationals have also been linked to the right-hander.
All five of those teams are playoff hopefuls, but with Arrieta’s declining numbers which team is actually the best fit for him?
5. Washington Nationals
The Nationals are essentially cursed to never make it out of the divisional series, but maybe bringing in a pitcher who’s not only made it out of the divisional series but to the World Series is just what they need. Unfortunately, Arrieta may not be the guy the Nats need.
The Nats roll out a pitching staff that relies heavily on the strikeout. Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer, and Tanner Roark are all heavy strikeout guys when they’re on their game. Gio Gonzalez almost never walks people, but this past season had an uncharacteristically high strikeout season coming within 12 punchouts of 200 for only the second time in his career.
Had this been the scenario maybe three years ago this wouldn’t be that far-fetched of thought, but with the decline of Arrieta’s strikeout numbers and the dip in his velocity, this may not be the best place for him to go.
Part of the problem the Nationals have when it comes to advancing in the playoffs isn’t really because of their pitching. It’s mostly because their offense goes absolutely dormant when they need it. That and their bullpen has failed them on more than one occasion including this past postseason.
The addition of Arrieta would be a nice one for the Nats, but maybe not the one they currently need. They have more pressing needs, like making sure they’re not making decisions to have Anthony Rendon take shots at the front office or making sure Bryce Harper is happy so he’ll re-sign next offseason.