Jake Arrieta has put together an excellent follow up to his breakout season. Arrieta is part of the conversation for the NL Cy Young and is consistently mentioned among the elite pitchers in the game. To put it simply, Jake Arrieta is becoming a true Ace.
After missing the first month of the season a year ago, Arrieta made 25 starts in the majors and posted a 10-5 record with a 2.53 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 2.26 FIP. Arrieta struck out 167 batters in a career-high 156 2/3 innings with 41 walks and 114 hits allowed. Arrieta was the best pitcher in the National League not named Clayton Kershaw in June when he allowed four runs on 21 hits with six walks and 48 strikeouts in 39 1/3 innings. Arrieta was 4-0 in six starts with a 0.92 ERA and 0.69 WHIP.
In August, Arrieta was asked about the possibility of signing an extension with the Cubs. The organization was turning the corner and Arrieta said last year he wanted to stay with the team “for the long-term, even if it means potentially overriding the counsel of agent Scott Boras.” Arrieta explained at the time he did not see “himself as the type of guy that’s going to ask for an astronomical amount of money.” Arrieta would like a fair contract and if he and the front office could find a common ground, he would like to stay with the Cubs.
Arrieta didn’t think at the time anything formal was in the works as he approached his first arbitration eligible season. And as far as Scott Boras was concerned, Arrieta said Boras would do what he wanted.
Scott Boras answered questions about an extension possibly being in the works for Arrieta in December. Boras said then “any potential talks for Arrieta would probably have to wait until January or February.” Boras seemed focused at the time on his other clients, namely Max Scherzer.
The Cubs and Arrieta avoided arbitration and agreed on a $3.63 million salary for the 2015 season.
Jake Arrieta has shown over his first 26 starts that last season was not a one-year wonder. Arrieta has actually gotten better and Joe Maddon does not think he has reached his full potential yet. Arrieta is 16-6 with a 2.22 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 2.57 FIP for a team that is competing for a spot in post-season play. Arrieta has already reached career highs in innings pitched (174) and strikeouts (178).
Jake Arrieta turns 30 in March and is under team control for two more years, through the 2017 season.
Patrick Mooney and Gordon Wittenmyer caught up with Scott Boras prior to Friday’s game at Dodger Stadium. Boras was asked about Jake Arrieta and if he has talked to the Cubs about a long-term extension for his client.
According to the report from Comcast SportsNet, Boras has not “engaged the Cubs in any preliminary discussions about a contract extension for Jake Arrieta.” Boras said the focus right now is on this season and added, “I think teams know us and we know them.”
Boras talked about the lack of wear and tear on Arrieta’s arm and compared the innings Arrieta has completed to what Max Scherzer had on his “pitching odometer.” Boras pointed to the fourth year as being the indicator on if a pitcher will stay healthy throughout his career.
“When you do all the studies, the hardest thing for a pitcher to do in the Major Leagues is to get past the fourth year. If you get past the fourth year, and you’re a healthy guy, you’re probably going to pitch … the numbers show … over 10 years. So we have all the data.”
Jake Arrieta will have 4.145 years of service time at the end of the season.
Scott Boras said he would talk long-term extension with the Cubs. But his history shows it is unlikely an extension will get done with Arrieta. Boras told Patrick Mooney, “There’s a very low probability of players that can get to these levels and meet the metrics of what we’re talking about here.”
Pitching in the Cubs rotation and working with Chris Bosio has turned Arrieta’s career around. In 60 starts with the Cubs, Arrieta is 30-13 with a 2.54 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 2.76 FIP. Arrieta has allowed only 276 hits with 108 walks and 382 strikeouts in 382 1/3 innings.
Jake Arrieta is a big piece to the puzzle. But with the Cubs window cracking open this year and Arrieta under team control for two more seasons, an extension for Arrieta is not necessary right now. Arrieta is in line for a big raise in his second year of arbitration eligibility. As long as he stays healthy and if the front office is able to add another top of the rotation starter this off-season, like David Price, to go with Arrieta and Jon Lester, the Cubs could have one of the top rotations in the National League.