Unless Jake Arrieta pulls a Dexter Fowler for one more year, the Cubs said goodbye to their former ace when they gave Yu Darvish a six-year, $126 million hello. I still expect Arrieta to get paid, maybe not as much as Darvish, but still some kind of generational money. The question is why that money hasn’t come from the Cardinals or Brewers already? Arrieta reportedly is looking for more than Darvish’s deal, but then aren’t we all? Some talk goes back to a four-year, $88 million offer, which doesn’t top Darvish’s total payday, but does come with some bragging rights. Darvish reportedly is guaranteed $25 million this season, $4 million more than his average annual value. A Cardinals or Brewers deal with Arrieta could start at, say, $28 million for 2018 and pay him $20 million each of the remaining three seasons. Voila, not only a higher average annual salary than Darvish but also the highest free-agent pitcher salary this year. It’s always fun to spend other people’s millions, isn’t it? Who knows, maybe Arrieta will decide $88 million is enough when coupled with the chance to be a Cubs killer instead of the Cubs ace, and maybe the Cardinals or Brewers will decide a decorated pitcher who remade himself in the middle of a division race last season now knows who he is and what he’s doing, and would have some extra motivation to execute all that. Both division rivals need pitching and have been looking up at the Cubs since the 2015 postseason. The Cubs upset the Cardinals that year, then won the NL Central, the NL and the World Series the next year, and proceeded to win the division again in 2017 after chasing down the Brewers. Now both rivals look like they’re also losing the offseason to the Cubs. What else ya got, fellas? Some numbers of interest: Arrieta finished with a 2.4 wins above replacement mark last year, according to Fangraphs.com, second to Jon Lester among qualified Cubs. By comparison, Brewers star Jimmy Nelson posted a 4.9, but he’s injured and nobody’s sure when he’ll return. Milwaukee starter Zach Davies finished a breakthrough season with a 2.8 WAR. Cardinals starters Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha finished with 3.3 and 3.2, respectively. Arrieta’s 4.16 fielder independent pitching rating also placed second to Lester on the Cubs last season, which was behind Martinez and Wacha but better than any healthy Brewers starter.
Why haven't the Cardinals or Brewers signed Jake Arrieta already?
Chicago Tribune | Feb 15