Nationals reportedly 'monitoring' Jake Arrieta; here's why that rumor makes sense

On Tuesday, our Dayn Perry urged the Milwaukee Brewers to sign Jake Arrieta.

Here's part of what Perry wrote:

First, Arrieta, who'll turn 32 in a few days, is really good. Yes, he's come down from the lofty heights he reached in 2015 when he won the NL Cy Young Award, but he's still been a major asset. Over the last two seasons, Arrieta's made 61 starts and pitched to a 3.30 ERA (129 ERA+) while striking out roughly a batter per inning. As well, he hasn't been on the disabled list since early in the 2014 season (Arrieta's rather famous workout regimen probably has something to do with that). Yes, his velocity was down overall last season, but part of that was by design. As well, Arrieta still missed bats, and he saw an uptick in fastball velo over the final weeks of the regular season. Add it all up, and that's a frontline starting pitcher. That's also exactly what the Brewers need. 

Comparatively, a frontline starting pitcher isn't what the Washington Nationals need. If anything, it would seem to be one of the things the Nationals are well-stocked with, given their continued employment of Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. Yet that isn't stopping the Nationals from showing interest in adding another in the form of Arrieta. Consider this report from Wednesday:

Whereas the Brewers will have to tooth and claw to hang with the Chicago Cubs in the National League Central, the Nationals are a relatively safe bet to win the National League East. As such, signing Arrieta would be about fielding a playoff rotation led by Scherzer, Strasburg, and Arrieta. In that scenario, either Gio Gonzalez or Tanner Roark would serve as the fourth starter. That's impressive.

Currently, the Nationals are projected to enter the season with A.J. Cole as their fifth starter. With due respect to Cole, his presence shouldn't prevent an upgrade. Besides, if this is Bryce Harper's final season in D.C., as many suspect, then it would make sense for the Nationals to go all-out in their effort to capture a title, a pennant, or a playoff-series victory before he bolts.

One other thing to keep in mind: Arrieta is represented by Scott Boras, who has a history of dealing with the Lerners, the Nationals owners. In fact, that relationship precipitated the arrival of Scherzer and catcher Matt Wieters, among others.

Whether or not the Nationals pounce on Arrieta, it's at least an interesting possibility to consider. 

CBS Sports Staff

R.J. Anderson joined CBS Sports in 2016. He previously wrote for Baseball Prospectus, where he contributed to five of the New York Times bestselling annuals. His work has also appeared in Newsweek and... Full Bio

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