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Chicago Cubs should lock up Jake Arrieta long term

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Cubs should consider extending Arrieta’s contract soon

Both Chicago Cubs’ president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer are forward thinkers – always looking towards the future on how to improve the organization. They saw the trend of hitting and runs scored steadily declining so they stacked up on big bats in their farm system. Maybe using that thought process on

They saw the trend of hitting and runs scored steadily declining so they stacked up on big bats in their farm system. Maybe using that thought process on Jake Arrieta‘s contract and his future with the Cubs may be beneficial.  

The Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians had similar situations with two of their pitchers. Boston traded for Rick Porcello in the off-season and extended his inherited contract with a new four-year contract worth $82.5 million.

Cleveland did the same with their Cy Young award winner Corey Kluber – signing him to a $38.5 million contract over five years.

Boston and Cleveland both saw how the market was set with pitchers this past off-season by Jon Lester and Max Scherzer and with pitchers like Johnny Cueto, David Price, and Jordan Zimmerman – that the bar will get higher. They jumped ahead of the market and locked up their pitcher now with a selling point for both sides being that it is beneficial for both sides financially.

This is where the Cubs need to think about Arrieta and if he is a part of their long-term plans. Buying now could save the team a lot in the future. The hard part will be selling the pitcher’s agent, Scott Boras, on this idea – but that may not be as hard as expected.

The rules set up the current collective bargaining agreement does not allow Arrieta to become a free agent until he reaches 32-years-old because Arrieta didn’t start in the majors until he was 24-years-old.

According to MLBPlayers.com – CBA agreement states that a player cannot be eligible for free agency until they have at least six or more years of Major League service who has not executed a contract for the next season is eligible to become a free agent.

If Arrieta would wait and not sign an extension offered – he’d be risking what could be his best chance for a big payoff. The market price for a pitcher already in their 30’s isn’t as high as it would be for one under 30-years-old. It also isn’t just about the money as we have seen with some players – it is just as important if not more so to be locked into a longer contract.

Signing Arrieta to a five or six-year extension makes more sense now than it would be at 32. Arrieta would also be taking a risk hoping that someone would be willing to give him a four-year contract or more if he tested the free agent waters as a 32-year-old free agent.

That is how this is a deal that would benefit both parties. Arrieta would be financially set and capitalize on his recent success and the Cubs would get a bit of a discount by not getting into a bidding war with other teams for his services.

Some may be hesitant to rush out and give the Cubs’ No. 2 starter a big contract after only one real successful year – but since the Cubs didn’t go to free agency trying to lock up James Shields or another top name with Lester – that tells me they trust what they have with Arrieta.

As this season progresses and if he continues the success he’s shown as a Cub – it would only be good business to maybe reach out and try getting a deal done.

Next: What's made Jake Arrieta so dominate for Cubs?

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