Nearly two weeks into spring training and Jake Arrieta remains the major league’s hottest free agent still seeking employment.
The Philadelphia Phillies remain the most interested, but Arrieta is learning that Yu Darvish’s six-year, $126 million contract with the Cubs this month has not exactly set the bar.
Most reports this week are putting the Phillies more in the three-year, $82 million range. That could open the door for the Milwaukee Brewers, who remain without Jimmy Nelson, who is still recovering from the torn labrum he suffered at Wrigley Field in September. Nelson could be out till the All-Star break.
Question is how much the Brewers are willing to spend to boost their rotation and stick it to the Cubs.
The Washington Nationals had the strongest interest in Arrieta, 31, all offseason. Our pal Jon Heyman at FanRag Sports puts the Nationals as the favorites to land Arrieta. But general manager Mike Rizzo has been suspiciously quiet on that front. The Nats had been eyeing Arrieta as a perfect No. 3 in their rotation behind Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg.
A dark horse to watch as we get close to Opening Day is the Los Angeles Dodgers, who desperately wanted Darvish to return. The Dodgers still need to fill that hole in their rotation and need to win now before the window closes on the Clayton Kershaw era.
The clock keeps ticking and Arrieta needs to be in a major-league camp soon.