If I had to some up Jake Arrieta’s 2017 season with the Chicago Cubs in one word I would say it has been ‘costly.’
$200 million seemed like a lofty number six months ago. Now, it’s looking like the Chicago Cubs’ right-hander will be capped at around $100 million in free agency. That is, unless he turns in another historic second-half, as he did in 2015.
The 31-year-old bearded right-hander currently has a 4.17 ERA, a WHIP of 1.287, and has a FIP of 4.25. Those numbers aren’t as bad as they were when he was with the Baltimore Orioles, but they’re close.
Just stop and think for a second, over the course of a year (second-half 2015 and first-half 2016) Arrieta was one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball history.
After the Midsummer Classic two years ago, Arrieta had a 0.75 ERA, 0.727 WHIP and struck out 9.5 batters per nine innings pitched. Those numbers are Gibson-esque.
While the numbers from first half of 2016 are not quite as superb, they still are very good. Let’s use the same numbers, he had a 2.68 ERA, a 1.093 WHIP and, keeping it consistent, he was striking out 9.5 batters per nine.
I’ll go out on a limb and say that if he signed a contract extension around the All-Star Break last season, it would’ve been for a pretty penny.
Now, as Arrieta stares free-agency in the face, he is looking at an uglier penny. Wait, can pennies be ugly, or even pretty for that matter?
Never mind that nonsense, the question is: what’s next for Jake Arrieta?