It might seem like a steal for Chicago as Arrieta is coming off a Cy Young season and one of the most dominant second halves in recent memory, but he avoided arbitration and is now making $7.1 million more than last season.
Arrieta, who will turn 30 in March, was 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA in 2015, striking out 236 and walking just 48 in 229 innings. He also led MLB with four complete games and three shutouts. According to the Canadian Press (via TSN), Arrieta had originally asked for $13 million, but the Cubs offered just $7.5 million.
He filed for arbitration with the single-highest gap between player and team, but the two sides were able to come to terms before reaching that point, much to the delight of Marc "Silvy" Silverman, who is half of Chicago's sports talk radio show, Waddle & Silvy:
Congrats @JArrieta34. You dont have to worry about a hearing date. Just be awesome again.— Silvy (@WaddleandSilvy) February 6, 2016
Even if he was half as effective as last year, Arrieta would be worth the money. After the All-Star Game, the right-hander went 12-1 and allowed just nine earned runs in those 15 starts. He tossed a no-hitter on Aug. 30 against the Los Angeles Dodgers while striking out 12 and walking just one.
Although he's not making the mega-money Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw ($32 million) or Arizona Diamondbacks starter Zack Greinke ($31 million) will in 2016, Arrieta still ended up with a favorable deal, per Heyman:
Arrieta $10.7M deal is record 1-year contract for 2nd-time arb pitcher, topping David price ($10.1M) #cubs— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 6, 2016
The Cubs added some nice offensive pieces during the offseason in outfielder Jason Heyward and utility man Ben Zobrist to a team that advanced to the National League Championship Series last year. Locking down their ace, who went 2-1 with a 3.66 ERA in the postseason, was key to making sure another run at the World Series is possible.