Arrieta Reportedly Expecting at Least 6 Years, $160 Million

Though it contains little we hadn’t already known or assumed, Bruce Levine’s recent report on the Cubs’ search for pitching does contain a few morsels of goodness. Or maybe that’s just because when you’re starved for news, even the smallest crumbs are appealing.

I mean, here we are at the end of the calendar year and Tyler Chatwood’s $38 million contract still stands as the largest of the winter. It’s a guarantee that at least three bigger deals will be signed by pitchers, but their respective asking prices and the availability of several younger arms via trade have served to muck up the market.

According to Levine, the Cubs have been well aware since November that Jake Arrieta is seeking a deal of at least $160 million over six years. That’s higher than what a lot of experts had been projecting, and I’d been thinking five years, $125 million would be the floor level. Scott Boras doesn’t really operate that way, though, so aiming high only makes sense.

The super-agent distributed a 75-page binder to owners at the Winter Meetings and has essentially tried to shame teams into spending big on his client. Even though Arrieta’s departure has been more or less a foregone conclusion for the last two years, his high price tag has served to push the Cubs even harder in other directions.

Not that Yu Darvish is coming cheap, though it’s possible he’s only looking for five years. Even at a higher AAV than Arrieta, that shorter term makes him more attractive. The same can’t be said for Alex Cobb, who’s looking for nearly twice as much as what was initially expected. There have been conflicting reports as to exactly how much that is, but we can be sure that it’s more than $15 AAV over three or four years.

What we seem to have here is a rising tide lifting all the ships sailing on it. Thing is, there’s a long way to go before the waters can flood the dam holding them back. Wait, tides wouldn’t really be an issue for bodies controlled by dams. Maybe this is a system of locks, like in a canal. That would certainly explain the sluggish movement.

Metaphors aside, some of these dudes are asking for a boatload of money (sorry, old habits and whatnot) and there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of traction when it comes to signing any of them. Will that change soon? With pitchers and catchers reporting in mid-February, it kind of has to.


  1. I will be shocked if he gets 5 years and anything north of 23 mil average. At that, it’s a bad contract for any team.

  2. The worst thing to happen to Scott Boras? The modern day, analytical GM. The days of Boras bullying GMs/Owner into overpaying for his client are pretty much over. I bet these GM’s today, when they receive those binder, they don’t give them a second thought. I respect Boras for what he can do as an agent but again, the days of him bullying GM’s into paying for “name” players are giving way to the days in which GM are paying for future performance not pass.

    As much as I like Jake, there is a reason why you have not heard of the Cubs interests in bringing him back. They want the draft pick. Yu Darvish, Cubs lose no draft pick, someone else signs Jake, Cubs get a draft pick.

    1. That was my first thought when I heard about the “75 page binder”. These GMs have all of the data and metrics they want, at their fingertips – and I doubt gave the binder much more than a cursory glance. In a lot of ways, this may be the most interesting free agent winter we have ever seen; the luxury tax penalties have gotten serious – teams looking to shed salary, a better FA market next year, most of the biggest spenders (teams/historically) not shopping.

      It’s competition for his players that Boras hopes for – driving up the ante. Will this be a year where we see teams collectively say “pass” at these $/years? All things considered, I wouldn’t mind of the Cubs didn’t sign another starter, slotted Montgomery into the #5 spot, and went from there.

  3. With the big off season next year, I wonder if any of these big contract seekers will be willing to take a one year deal?

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