Farewell to Jake Arrieta, Forever a Cubs World Series Champion (UPDATES: Contract Details)

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We have to say a sad and partly painful goodbye to a superb former Chicago Cubs player soon:

That’s about what we expected, as there really was no room on the roster or in the budget for their former ace, Jake Arrieta.  The trade that brought him and Pedro Strop over turned out to be one of the greatest heists in Cubs history, and all Jake did was throw a couple of no-hitters, earn the 2015 Cy Young Award with a historic season, and help the Cubs to three straight postseasons, including the 2016 World Series championship.  According to Baseball-Reference.com, in Jake’s five seasons with the Cubs, he was worth 19.9 wins above replacement and pitched to a 147 overall ERA+, probably buoyed by the insane 215 ERA+ in his Cy Young season, though he was always solidly above average.

Along the way, Jake did his thing to troll fans of opposing teams on Twitter, said a few things that may have irked people, showed off his sexy body in the ESPN The Body Issue, and continued to perplex batters until the end of the road for the Cubs in 2017’s NLCS.  Now, he will be doing this for someone else, helping to appease his teammates who wanted him to get paid as he deserves (we hope, as details aren’t out yet).  Joe Maddon, as his former manager, had this to say:

Just like the Phillies did when they decided to sign Carlos Santana (surprisingly, but there’s a logic behind it), the upstart NL East squad will have to cough up a draft pick as Arrieta will be with them for more than just the one season:

Based on the current draft order, the Phillies will now forfeit their third round pick, which is the 79th overall pick, while the Cubs will receive another pick after the Competitive Balance Round B, which I assume will be 77th overall, just behind the one they got when Wade Davis signed with the Rockies.  That also depends on who signs Alex Cobb and Greg Holland, the remaining qualifying offer free agents, as anyone who does not hold the top ten picks will forfeit their first rounder upon signing.  If they can sign before June, the Cubs can move up a couple slots with their first rounder.

Like Santana’s deal, if Bob is right (and multiple sources are confirming this), Arrieta will get three years to align with the Phillies’ current upswing, as they have tons of payroll space and an intriguing and talented farm system that reminds us of when the Cubs were making their move towards contention.  The Phillies are likely thinking of sneaking into the second Wild Card spot, although they have a couple of sexy trade chips now if they decide to flip their guys for more prospects.  It’s good to see a team try to contend in this new age of mass tanking.

Will Jake be his 2015 self?  That is extremely unlikely, but with his repertoire, he should certainly be an excellent innings eater and more than capable of generating tons of outs.  The velocity issues have been talked about to death, but the repertoire and durability are enough that he should provide plenty of value in terms of performance and veteran leadership for the younger players, who figure to be more a part of the future core than Jake himself.  Anyway, the numbers:

We’ll have more later as it is reported, but Jake deserves to be paid after what he did in revitalizing his career with the Cubs.  His contributions will be missed, but at least he’s doing his thing outside the division, where the Cubs only have to deal with him at most twice each season (and possibly more in the postseason if they should meet).  Good luck in Philadelphia!

UPDATE 6:03 PM: More details emerging on Arrieta’s deal:

I guess the front loading before the opt out (which just happens to be after 2019, so Jake avoids the ridiculous free agent class after 2018) gives Jake a bit more money before he decides whether to exercise it. The report suggests there are a couple of option years as well, plus incentives.

UPDATE 6:10 PM: Should’ve waited…

The chances Arrieta will opt out seem slim, especially if he’s older and still beholden to the current CBA. I don’t know that the extension will automatically be triggered by Philly either. This is a creative contract that doesn’t exactly give as much benefit to the player other than the original front load guarantee.


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About Rice Cube

Rice Cube is the executive vice president of snark at World Series Dreaming. He loves all things Cubs, with notable exceptions (specifically, the part of Cubs fandom that pisses him off). Follow on Twitter at cubicsnarkonia

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