Jake Arrieta and the Cubs had discussions in the off-season about a long term deal before the two sides agreed on a $10.7 million contract to avoid arbitration for this season. Arrieta and Theo Epstein addressed those talks during Spring Training. Both Epstein and Arrieta acknowledged there were conversations about a long term contract.
Early in Spring Training reports indicated the Cubs and Arrieta were far apart, in terms of years, on a contract extension. Arrieta indicated he wanted to stay with the Cubs but for longer than the front office had in mind. According to multiple reports at the time, Arrieta was looking for a seven-year contract and the Cubs were not willing to sign Arrieta for more than five years. Bruce Levine reported the Cubs and Arrieta discussed a six-year contract in the $130 million range.
And talks were reportedly tabled before Opening Night in Anaheim.
Jake Arrieta discussed his contract earlier in the week when he addressed the PED allegations with Bob Nightengale.
Arrieta is looking for a seven-year contract and feels if the Cubs do not sign him to an extension another team will when he becomes a free agent after the 2017 season.
“If we don’t work out a deal here, and I go to free agency I will get six or seven years. No doubt about that,” Arrieta told Bob Nightengale. “I’d like to stay in Chicago, but if they don’t want me, somebody will.”
Nightengale reported that Arrieta and his agent, Scott Boras, asked the Cubs for “a seven-year contract extension this winter.” Boras told Nightengale the Cubs “weren’t willing to talk about more than three or four years.” Nightengale added the two sides will “talk again this winter, but considering that Arrieta is actually pitching better than a year ago, the price tag only goes up, and free agency gets a year closer.”
Arrieta explained to Nightengale, “Look at all of the pitchers getting six- and seven-year deals at 30, 31, and 32. You see what’s going on and the money that’s out there. You’d be a fool not to try to benefit from that, or at least try to get what you feel your worth. You’ve got to strike when the iron is hot. And mine will be hot for a while.”
Arrieta is under club control through the 2017 season. Arrieta has one more year of arbitration eligibility before he becomes a free agent. If the Cubs do not sign Arrieta to an extension, he will hit the market at age 31 and would pitch at 32 years old on the first season of a new contract.
“I know the Cubs don’t typically do six- or seven-year deals, but I think there are obviously times when there should be exceptions,” Arrieta said to Bob Nightengale. “I think I’ve done pretty well here. I would enjoy staying in Chicago. But when the opportunities are out there like they are, I’m going to keep an open mind.”
Jake Arrieta has followed up his historic, Cy Young Award winning season with a dominating April that included his second no-hitter. Arrieta is 5-0 with a 1.00 ERA, 0.77 WHIP and 2.88 FIP. And since the trade with Baltimore that landed him with the Cubs and paired him with Chris Bosio, Arrieta is 41-13 with a 2.17 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 2.64 FIP in 72 starts.
The Cubs told Bob Nightengale that talks with Arrieta would be re-visited in the off-season.
Jon Heyman reported Friday that the Cubs and Arrieta remain apart in contract talks. The Cubs are not budging off a four-year extension and Arrieta is looking for seven years. Heyman said there is no optimism for a long term deal happening soon.
Jake Arrieta and the front office maintain an excellent relationship and are focused on winning games. There is no rush for either side to sign an extension. Arrieta is under club control through the 2017 season. And if he continues to pitch the way he has, Arrieta could decide it’s best for him and his family to test the market.