Not unlike the Theo Epstein contract extension conversation earlier this week, the Jake Arrieta update is mostly of the non-update-is-actually-kind-of-an-update variety.
Still, CSN’s Patrick Mooney spoke with both Cubs President Theo Epstein and Arrieta agent Scott Boras regarding a potential future contract and there are at least some interesting comments to share, dissect, and keep in mind.
Last time we checked in on this story was back at the beginning of Spring Training, on March 8. At the time, there were actually notable and encouraging reports that both the Cubs and Arrieta had indeed been working on a long-term deal.
Although no deal was ultimately struck, the implication was that the two sides agreed on Arrieta’s overall value (and perhaps even a yearly salary), but were quite far apart on the length of the contract. While Arrieta was (rightfully) looking for a deal in the 6-7 year range, citing other past Cy Young award winners, the Cubs were (rightfully) weary of committing to so many years, two years away from free agency.
Neither side was wrong, conversations were pleasant and active (a hugely positive sign), there was at least some interest from both sides to get an extension done, and, by all accounts, these conversations could be used as groundwork for the future.
Which brings us to Mooney’s article, and some comments therein from Scott Boras and Theo Epstein made before Arrieta’s dominant start Monday night in Anaheim. “Every Cy Young Award winner I know,” Boras said, via Patrick Mooney at CSN, “got a seven-year contract.” And there is at least a little something to that. Each of Clayton Kershaw (7 years, $215 million), Max Scherzer (7 years, $210 million) and David Price (7 years, $217 million) got at least seven years and over $200 million in the past few seasons, alone.
But, as I’m sure your wondering, each did so at relatively different ages. All of Kershaw (26), Scherzer (30) and Price (30) signed their deals when they were a couple years younger than Arrieta will be when his contract expires – he’ll be 32 at the beginning of his first free agent season (2018). But Boras sees things differently, pointing to Arrieta’s discipline and “repeatability” as being more important than his age. Further, Arrieta has thrown only a bit over 800 innings throughout his Major League career.
And herein lies the distance between the two parties.
And that’s perfectly reasonable and where things stand today. The Cubs gave it a shot in the offseason, it opened a dialogue and cemented both sides’ concerns and desires. I wouldn’t expect a mid-season extension, given the expected competitiveness and distractions of the season, but this very well could (and should) be reevaluated in the offseason.
For now, Arrieta will remain on the team – at a minimum – for the next two seasons, and the Cubs will look to get as much out of him as possible. I know we’re all anxious to see that relationship continue, but we’ll have to take it day by day, because that’s what the parties involved are going to do.
If you want more Cubs-Arrieta extension things to check out, Brett took a look at what kind of extension might make sense for each side earlier in the offseason.