The Padres are now the latest team linked to Jake Arrieta, as they have had discussions “internally” about signing the top free-agent starter left on the market, sources told Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.
Heyman’s sources with the club suggest that San Diego is “checking in with a number of star free agents remaining periodically in case there’s a deal that makes sense but ultimately expect to go with the young pitchers they currently have in camp.”
Though it seems unlikely they will go after him, the Padres can really benefit from having Arrieta — a NL Cy Young winner in 2015 — as their ace. 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.
But, as Heyman points out, any team would love to have Arrieta at the top of its rotation, but it all comes down to cost. The Phillies, Nationals, Brewers and Orioles all have looked into Arrieta, but the Phillies ideally want him for no more than three years, the Nationals don’t want to pay him too much because his deal would probably put them over the luxury tax threshold, and the Brewers may not want to commit a ton of money to him as well.
The Padres have committed a lot of money to Eric Hosmer (a franchise-record $144 million over eight years), but they may not want to be tied up to two players at this point because they are still rebuilding.