The Chicago Cubs and 2015 National League Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta agreed to terms on a one-year, $10.7 million contract in February, but it appears the deal wasn't close to what the right-hander wanted.
Continue for updates.
Epstein Comments on Negotiations with Arrieta
Wednesday, March 9
Per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune:
"Jake's priority (now) is helping the team come together and prepare for a season," (Cubs president Theo) Epstein said Tuesday. "The last thing we would want is to create any distraction. (But) there will be quiet moments out of the competitive spotlight in the future when it will make sense to talk again. It's certainly not something that is going on now or probably will as the season begins."
Arrieta Comments on Securing New Deal
Wednesday, March 9
Arrieta said, per Gonzales on Tuesday:
There's a small window you have as a professional athlete, so you want to try to capitalize on that. But financially, whether I signed an extension or not, we're still going to be able to live a good life. Money can only make you so happy. We're extremely happy where we're at. I love my teammates. I love Chicago. So those are more important than the contract extension.
Cubs, Arrieta Far Off on Long-Term Deal
Monday, March 7
According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the two sides were working on a megadeal, but their talks ended prematurely because of a "decent-sized gap over the length of the deal."
Heyman shared the figure Arrieta was hoping for:
However, Arrieta will be arbitration-eligible for the third time after the 2016 season, and free agency could loom following the 2017 season. Heyman reported the Cubs were not going to give him a seven-year deal two years before he is set to become a free agent.
He also noted the Cubs "say they love Arrieta and will try again."
Arrieta Emerged as Elite Pitcher in 2015
The money top-tier pitchers such as David Price and Clayton Kershaw are making hovers around $30 million per year, and while Arrieta has made more than 25 starts in only two of his six years in the majors, he did finish with a 22-6 record and 1.77 ERA last year. His 222 ERA+ was just three points behind Zack Greinke's mark of 225, per Baseball-Reference.com.
On top of his stellar pitching, he isn't lacking confidence. On Monday, when asked on The Spiegel and Goff Show (h/t Chicago CBS) if any hitters in the National League scare him, he gave a simple answer: “Not right now.”
If he has another solid season next year, the Cubs will need to open their wallets, or they could lose him to another team that does following the 2017 season.