Talks tabled with Jake Arrieta on long-term contract
News surfaced early in Spring Training the Cubs discussed a long-term contract during the off-season with Jake Arrieta. There was “a decent-sized gap over the length of the deal” and the two sides agreed on a one-year, $10.7 million contract for the 2016 season to avoid arbitration.
Jake Arrieta and Theo Epstein addressed the reports.
Arrieta confirmed to the beat writers there were discussions about a long-term contract extension. Arrieta said he was involved, talked directly to Epstein and was not leaving the negotiations to his agent, Scott Boras.
Arrieta indicated at the time he wanted to stay with the Cubs but for longer than the front office had in mind. Arrieta pointed out it had to be the right deal, something worth signing. Arrieta stressed he did not want to be a distraction to the team.
Multiple reports last month indicated the Cubs were not willing to go beyond five years on a contract for Arrieta and he was looking for a seven-year deal. Bruce Levine reported a six-year contract in the $130 million range was asked for in negotiations.
Jake Arrieta said he would prefer not to talk about his contract once the season started.
Theo Epstein indicated there were not ongoing conversations with Arrieta. And the Sun-Times reported in early March, the talks with Arrieta “were not expected by the team to result in an agreement.” The conversations during the off-season “were more broad concepts than substantive details.”
Epstein said he “wouldn’t rule anything out or anything in” and explained they were “not hiding the ball” the two sides were not actively talking about a long-term contract.
The Tribune reported prior to Opening Day “negotiations on a long-term contract for Arrieta were halted recently, but both sides will try to work out an extension before he’s eligible for free agency” after the 2017 season.
Comcast SportsNet reported discussions were tabled with Arrieta on a long-term contract. The Sun-Times said talks with Arrieta on a contract extension ended early in Spring Training “over contract length.”
Scott Boras talked to the beat writers about Arrieta before watching his client pitch on Opening Night from his box behind homeplate at Angel Stadium.
Boras told Patrick Mooney, “Every Cy Young Award winner I know got a seven-year contract.”
When asked about Arrieta’s contract prior to his team’s first game of the season, Theo Epstein said there were not any active conversations, and at the appropriate time the discussions would continue. Epstein added “maybe it’s an off-season thing.”
Comcast SportsNet explained that Boras understands Epstein’s policy “in these narrow arbitration windows is to either go year-to-year or buy out free agent seasons.”
According to Patrick Mooney, the “Cubs will play this out and hope the scouting and player development system that generated instant offense can finally start to produce some pitching.”
Jake Arrieta is under club control through the 2017 season. If he continues to pitch the way he has with the Cubs, he will have one of the highest AAV’s for a starting pitching in the game.