Spring training camp is underway and Jake Arrieta (and numerous other free agents) still have yet to find a home in 2018. The 2015 Cy Young winner's chances of returning to the Chicago Cubs were pretty much shot when they signed Yu Darvish. Considered one of the top free agents this winter, he is seeking a very large deal and a number of teams do not seem to be interested in what he and his agent Scott Boras are demanding. Much due to his age and inconsistent 2017 season.

While the market is thin, there is a team that potentially makes sense for Arrieta in the Washington Nationals.

They are favorites to win the Nl East this coming season and could add depth to their rotation that is topped off with Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. Just this morning their star right fielder Bryce Harper was reported by Bob Nightengale as saying he could not believe Arrieta has not signed yet and that he would love him on his team.

Arrieta a fit in D.C.

The Nationals are trying to finally win a World Series, no less a playoff series.

Despite four trips to the postseason since 2012, they have yet to get past the NLDS and have lost game five on their home turf three of the four times. The top of their rotation has multiple Cy Young winner Max Scherzer followed by all-star Stephen Strasburg. The line up will still have Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Trea Turner and Daniel Murphy in 2018.

With a weak NL East, this is the Nationals' division to lose.

Jake Arrieta (31) last season had was inconsistent as the velocity dropped a few ticks and the walks were an issue. Overall he pitched to a 14-10 record with a 3.53 ERA, 1.218 WHIP, 4.16 Fielding Independent Pitching, 8.7 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 168.1 IP. Also note he gave up 23 home runs last year which is a 1.2 HR/9 rate.

While these are not terrible numbers, they are not near the historically good numbers from 2014-2016 when he totaled a 2.42 ERA, 0.973 WHIP and 2.72 FIP in 583.0 innings.

There is still value with Arrieta and he can still be effective down the road. However, expecting his peak years seems unrealistic at this point. For what he can do right now, the near future probably would make him fit great in the three-spot of a rotation that is headed up by Scherzer and Strasburg. Plus, Arrieta would be working with Dave Martinez again, the former Cubs coach and new Nationals manager.

Harper and their future

There are a few other things to note about the Nationals. Arrieta seeking a long-term deal as well as the ability to play on a winner applies for 2018.

After this coming season, key Nationals including Harper and Murphy are hitting the market. Scherzer is in his prime now, but after pitching at his height for many years, it can make one wonder how much longer he will last. As it sits right now, 2018 could be the last year in the Nationals' window to contend for a championship. Could it factor into his decision? It could, but as it stands they seem like the right opportunity to get another ring this year.

As for Harper's comments, it sounds like a possible subtle recruitment statement, though one cannot say how effective those words actually are. Harper is good friends with Cubs star Kris Bryant and he knows how good his friend's former teammate was for a number of years.

In the end, with the market on Arrieta so thin, it seems like it makes too much sense to go to the Nationals. Outside of them or the Phillies, it is hard to see him going anywhere else with the kind of money he is demanding.