I mentioned this morning in the Bullets that arbitration hearings are ongoing and that we might hear soon about a date for the Cubs and ace Jake Arrieta’s hearing, and sure enough:
Breaking – Chicago Cubs and Jake Arrieta arbitration case set for Tuesday Feb 9th in Arizona.$ 5.5 million difference .
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) February 4, 2016
As you no doubt recall, Arrieta is in his second year of eligibility for arbitration – the Cubs control his rights, but he’s eligible to ask an arbitrator to help decide his salary. Unless settled sooner, as the Cubs have with their other eligible players, that process takes the form of each side selecting a salary figures for the upcoming season, presenting the case for their number at a hearing before an arbitrator, and then having the arbitrator select one of the two salaries.
There is still quite a bit of time between now and the hearing, and, given that a Theo Epstein-led front office has never actually gone to arbitration, I think we’re going to see a settlement before the hearing. It’s probable that the deal would be for 2016, only, and then the sides would thereafter discuss an extension or would simply go through this process again in 2017, Arrieta’s final year of arbitration. It’s also possible that the sides could come together now on a two-year deal that covers both of his final arbitration years, given the team more cost certainty and giving Arrieta a solid guarantee. I am not currently expecting a longer extension at this time.