Nobody in the Cubs’ clubhouse has been closer to Jake Arrieta than Texas neighbor Tommy La Stella the last three years – so close that Arrieta still carries some of La Stella with him wherever he goes, even four months after his last pitch for the Cubs.

Albeit, most of what he carries from La Stella is a tattoo on his butt from a bet he lost.

But suffice to say La Stella knows better than most what the Cubs lost in their former Cy Young Award winner as a player and teammate when the club moved on from him and signed Yu Darvish to replace him – and the kind of motivation the best remaining unsigned free agent pitcher will take into his next job once he signs.

“He’s never lacking in motivation,” La Stella said Friday. “He always goes out there and pitches with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder; I think that’s what makes him so good and so competitive.

“I’m sure he’ll take a little bit of that out there for sure.”

At least six teams have shown interest in Arrieta during the offseason, including the division-rival Brewers and Cardinals, according to sources.