Chicago Cubs: Where will Jake Arrieta land this offseason?

(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

When Opening Day hits, Jake Arrieta probably won’t be pitching for the Chicago Cubs. Knowing that, where will he be in 2018 and beyond?

As the stove heats up, Jake Arrieta’s future is still uncertain. For a former Cy Young winner, his free agency has been relatively quiet so far. Now, with the hottest pitching commodity in Shohei Ohtani off the market, Arrieta may start to get more interest from potential suitors. Chicago Cubs fans will be watching closely to see if the team can find a way to keep Arrieta, and if where he lands if they don’t.

Arrieta may not be able to bring back the beard in 2018

Because there’s one team that might make sense for Arrieta with clean-shaven policy.

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The New York Yankees are a club with the money to pay Arrieta and a need for starting pitching. With C.C. Sabathia likely to retire, the Yankees have at least one vacancy in the rotation.

However, the Yankees did just take on $265 million in their deal for Giancarlo Stanton. The already-expensive Yankee offseason might encourage them to count on guys they already have like Sonny Gray and Masahiro Tanaka to front the rotation. Counting on those guys would allow the Yankees to instead target cheaper back-end starters.

Arrieta’s new team could bring him closer to home

Arrieta, who grew up and went to college in Texas, might make sense for either the Houston Astros or Texas Rangers.

The Rangers have a spot in their rotation after trading Yu Darvish to the Dodgers last season. The Rangers made it to Ohtani’s final list of teams he was considering, so they apparently are trying to fill the hole Darvish left behind.

The Astros could make a pitch for Arrieta, but possibly only if his price goes down. Astros’ ace Dallas Keuchel is set to hit free agency at the conclusion of the 2018 season. In preparation for his pending free agency, Keuchel hired an agent known for getting maximum contracts for his players in Scott Boras. The Astros might decide to wait for Keuchel to hit free agency before they spend big bucks on a starter.

The case for the Cubs

In short, it’s not likely. Manager Joe Maddon himself doesn’t consider it likely. Still, it’s possible.

The biggest thing standing between the parties involved is length of contract. Arrieta has expressed interest in signing a deal for seven years. The Cubs are already paying top dollar for a pitcher on the wrong side of 30 in Jon Lester.

If the market for Arrieta isn’t there, his early demands might come down. The front office would feel a lot more comfortable paying Arrieta for three or four years rather than six or seven. Unfortunately for the Cubs, there’s likely a team out there that will be willing to pay Arrieta for the better part of a decade.

Next: Cubs add reliever Morrow in high-risk, high-reward move

Wherever Arrieta ends up in 2018 and beyond, his time as a Cub won’t soon be forgotten by either Cubs’ fans or baseball fans, as a whole.