Chicago Cubs: What it will take to lock up Jake Arrieta?


Jake Arrieta went a long way in 2015 to ensuring he sees a hefty payday. Entering the second year of arbitration, the Chicago Cubs still have some financial control over the ace, but it may take a leap of faith to lock him down for the long haul.

The 29-year-old righty stunned Major League Baseball with his unworldly second half. Considered a Cy Young Award finalist, Arrieta will definitely be a priority of the Cubs front office in the offseason.

Overall, Jake Arrieta put up impressive numbers the whole year. In 229 regular season innings, Arrieta only gave up 45 earned runs while boasting a 1.77 ERA, the best by a Cub since 1919. Top it with a 0.75 ERA after the all-star break and you’ve got a player that screams payday.

Where life becomes tricky for Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, is the fact that Arrieta is represented by the Babe Ruth of agents. Scott Boras not only gets the best deals for his clients, he does so in a ruthless manner that usually holds franchises hostage.

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As many Cub fans remember, Boras was an outspoken critic of how the team handled his other client in early April. Many baseball experts believed that Kris Bryant had deserved a spot on the roster coming out if spring training.

Opting to gain an extra year of control, the Cubs sent Bryant to Triple-A Iowa for a few weeks.

As we approach the second year of arbitration, we can only assume that for each side to agree on a number, the price tag will certainly double, given the year Arrieta put together.

The Cubs would like to lock Arrieta up long-term, but Boras is notorious for taking his clients to the open market. A smart move for the player, and a dangerous negotiating chip to have.

During the 2015 campaign, Arrieta made a modest $3.63 million. Given the strong leverage that he and his agent have based on performance, the Cubs will have to look somewhere around $7-9 million for 2016. If Arrieta can prove that this past season wasn’t a flash in the pan, 2017, his final year of arbitration could get very expensive.

In the event that happens, Arrieta could be looking at $13-16 million.

Next: Bold predictions for next season

In the perfect world, the Cubs would reward their star and the two would live happily ever after. In reality, the chances that Jake Arrieta remains a Chicago Cub for a long time is still very high. It will ultimately come down to what it will cost them.

Keep in mind a new TV deal is down the pipeline as well, so the cash will be there. This should prove to be an interesting offseason, and one that will set the course for this franchise for the next half-decade.