Regardless of what happens this offseason, Jake Arrieta will forever be indebted to the Chicago Cubs. No player has tested free agency and returned to their old team on a $100 million contract. The Cubs would love to find a way to keep Jake, the likelihood of it working out is slim.
Just days ago there was a report saying the team and Jake hadn’t talked. The report lists the Brewers, Rangers, Rockies, Twins, and Blie Jays as teams to inquire about Jake. But apparently that was not true.
FanRag Sports Jon Heyman reported that the Cubs and Jake indeed met and talked about a potential contract. It didn’t go so well.
The Chicago Cubs met at the GM meetings on Jake Arrieta, and while they are interested, there’s still said to be a gap on the years – he wants long (six or seven years), they want shorter — and the sides aren’t believed to have spoken since the meetings.
There is reason to believe each side still has each other on speed dial. Scott Boras wants to get as many teams involved as possible, and the Cubs need a good quality starting pitcher.
But Cubs would on a deal that fit their timeline. Jake, on the other hand, has earned his free agency. With pitchers signing long six, seven, and even a ten-year contract thrown in there, Jake is looking long-term stability.
Long-term deals rarely work though. Jake’s deal will tie up too much money when the core is ready to be renewed. Jake’s deal itself wouldn’t handcuff the team. Look ahead to 2021 and it would be money possibly used on an unproductive player. The Cubs will likely need to find an extra $100 million in cash in their couch cushions, and signing Jake along with several relievers could eventually make things rough.
It wouldn’t be tough just from a money standpoint. Signing Jake to a $25 million a year deal now, plus the deals that Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Willson Contreras, Addison Russell, Albert Almora, and Kyle Schwarber will earn, then add Jason Heyward’s money in there – the Cubs will blow past the luxury tax. Doing that hurts the team’s ability to collect draft picks when players offered a Qualifying Offer leave for free agency. It also hurts the Cubs if they sign a player that was offered a QO by giving up a higher level draft pick.
I think this all continue to points to the Cubs and Jake going their separate ways. Of course, Theo and Jed Hoyer will always do their due diligence, but they also know when to fold their hands. With Jake, it is time to fold their hands.