Arrieta finished the 2017 regular season 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and 163 strikeouts in 30 starts for the Chicago Cubs. Since coming to Chicago in 2013, he’s been one of the game’s best with a career-best 22-6 record and 1.77 ERA in 2015. In fact, 2017 represents his worst season with the team, showing just how good he’s been with the Cubs. He’s likely to demand top dollars on the market, easily over $25 million.
The Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher is heading into free agency as the second-best option to Arrieta. He’s a strikeout machine, striking out 209 batters in 2017, and 1,021 in five MLB seasons. Although he’s had a history of minor injuries, he started 31 games in 2017, finishing 10-12 with a 3.86 ERA between stints with the Texas Rangers and Dodgers. He’s going to demand similar money to Arrieta, likely waiting for him to set the market in free agency.
The 30-year old is not a highly talked about name, but he’s had great success with the Tampa Bay Rays in six seasons. For his career, he has a 3.50 ERA to go along with a 48-35 record. In 2017, he went 14-10 with a 3.66 ERA after missing almost all of 2016 with a right elbow injury. Sure, the serious arm injury is a concern, but Cobb likely comes cheaper than Arrieta and Darvish. That being said, he’s still one of the top arms on the market, so he’s not going to come cheap.
Finally, Lynn is the last option considered a top-end starter on the market. The 30-year old has proven durable in his six-year tenure with the St. Louis Cardinals having pitched at least 175.1 innings in each of the past five seasons. Additionally, he’s never held a losing record or an ERA above 4.00, so he’s been as reliable as they come. Out of the high-end options, he had the lowest ERA in 2017 at 3.43. He should see a contract similar to Cobb’s, likely in the $16-20 million dollar range. Yet, the demand for starting pitching could raise that even higher.
Best option for Twins?
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Lance Lynn. Out of the high-end options, Lynn seems to be the best and most likely fit. He won’t demand as much money as Arrieta and Darvish, but likely provides similar, if not better, results. Although the Twins aren’t ones to shell out a large sum of money to one player, they have to realize that top-end starters don’t come cheap. Plus, the Twins need one desperately. A 2018 rotation headed by Lynn, Santana, and Berríos is very intriguing.