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MLB free agency: Jake Arrieta talks intensifying

Phillies look like favorite right now, but several teams going after former Cy Young winner

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Arizona Diamondbacks Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The talks of signing top free-agent starter Jake Arrieta are “heating up,” according to Bob Nightingale of USA Today.

Nightengale says “several teams remained involved” in the chase to land Arrieta — a NL Cy Young winner in 2015 — as their ace. However, Nightingale added that Arrieta is “expected to sign in the next couple of days” and that the Phillies are “looming as the favorite.”

The Phillies, Nationals, Brewers, Orioles and Padres all have reportedly looked into Arrieta, but it all comes down to cost at this point for them. The Phillies ideally want him on a three-year deal because they are still a few pieces away from contending; the Nationals don’t want to pay him too much because his deal would probably put them over the luxury tax threshold; and the Padres, Brewers and Orioles may not want to commit a ton of money to him as well after the Padres signed first baseman Eric Hosmer to an eight-year, $144 million deal, the Brewers signed outfielder Lorenzo Cain to a five-year, $80 million contract and the Orioles have signed starters Andrew Cashner and Chris Tilman on the cheap to fill their rotation.

However, they can all benefit from having Arrieta in their respective rotations.

Arrieta is three seasons removed from his Cy Young season in which he put together a 22-6 campaign with a 1.77 ERA and is two years removed from an All-Star year in which he also helped the Cubs win the World Series. In parts of five years with Chicago, Arrieta has gone 68-31 with a 2.73 ERA, a 1.03 WHIP and a 19.9 WAR in 128 starts plus has a postseason ERA of 3.08.