Just in case you missed it, the Cubs and lefty Felix Doubront were able to avoid arbitration, but the team still has a handful of guys waiting for their cases to be resolved. Jake Arrieta can now be taken off the list as well. The Cubs and Arrieta agreed to $3.63 million to avoid arbitration.
Arrieta, 28, is coming off a huge year with the big league Cubs in 2014 after the team dealt both Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Oakland Athletics. Although Hammel is back in Chicago with the team, Arrieta is expected to play a huge role with this starting rotation featuring southpaw ace Jon Lester.
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In 25 starts for the North Side, Arrieta posted a solid 2.52 ERA, 10-5 W/L, 167/41 K/BB, 44 earned runs, five home runs with only five home runs given up through 156 2/3 innings. The man who was acquired by the Cubs from the Baltimore Orioles just a year ago, stepped up when needed which could result in a huge deal coming his way.
Not only did Arrieta break out in 2014, but he also flirted with history three times as he nearly no-hit several teams. Acquiring the soon to be 29-year-old righty appears to be working in Theo Epstein’s favor after sending both Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger to Baltimore – they also received Pedro Strop, another man who is waiting for his case to be resolved.
When you think about it, locking in Arrieta long-term could work out perfectly for the Cubs in the future. You wouldn’t necessarily have to give him a huge deal compared to what Lester received, or what you could be looking to give to a top free agent starter next winter.
Arrieta picked up a base salary of $516,500 in 2013 and $500,000 this past season. With the Cubs handing Doubront a $1.925 million deal, Arrieta could expect something along the lines of $4-$5 million in 2015 if a long-term contract isn’t on the table just yet.
This was his first year of arbitration eligibility and isn’t due to become a free agent until 2018. So if you’re Epstein or Jed Hoyer, they wanted to lock him in for the right price and hope he doesn’t turn out to be another Edwin Jackson.