Chicago Cubs: Free Agent Jake Arrieta reportedly wants over $200 million
At this point, it seems highly unlikely free agent pitcher Jake Arrieta will be returning to the Chicago Cubs. Especially after it was reported he is seeking a deal north of $200 million.
Former Chicago Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta is looking to get PAID. ESPN is reporting that one MLB executive has told them Arrieta and agent Scott Boras are looking to get a long-term contract worth more than $200 million.
This news comes about a week after Cubs skipper Joe Maddon said he thinks Arrieta is “probably gone.” So the Cubs were already suspected to be out of the running. But if this news is true, there definitely won’t be a return to Chicago.
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The big fish
Jake Arrieta is arguably the best pitcher on the free agent market, so wherever he goes, he’s going to get a big deal. But anything close to $200 million seems like a stretch. That amount of money, or more, if given over a six-year period would equate to more than $33 million annually.
That’s an awful lot of confidence to put in a soon-to-be 32-year-old who’s lost two miles per hour off his fastball over the past few seasons.
Arrieta had a solid 2017 season. In 30 starts, the right-hander went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA. At certain points, walks were an issue, just as they were during the 2016 season. And his home run rate also increased. Despite some control issues and a drop-off in velocity, Arrieta recorded 8.7 strikeout per nine innings.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports has reported that both the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals have shown interest. The Phillies don’t seem quite ready to contend for anything yet, so if winning is imminently important to Arrieta, Philadelphia might not be a good fit. The Nationals, on the other hand, are one of the better teams in the league. Their rotation is already loaded with Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. The addition of Arrieta could easily give them the best rotation in the league.
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Jake Arrieta is most likely not going to be a Cub in 2018. It seems most fans have come to terms with this. The team is simply not willing to give him the number of years or the money he is seeking. Starting at such a remarkably high price is a good negotiating tactic on Scott Boras’ part. But the reality is Arrieta isn’t even close to being worth more than $200 million.
In fact, half that number might be more like it. Being that he’s the top starting pitcher on the free agent market, though, he’ll likely get $150 million or more. But six or more years at $200 million? Not going to happen. Though, maybe Arrieta’s kale smoothie diet will convince teams of his pitching longevity?