The Chicago Cubs have been busy this offseason, already signing both Tyler Chatwood and Brandon Morrow. Theo Epstein still has plenty of work to do, but free agency has already gotten off to a great start for a team looking to push back into World Series contention.
Last season, the Cubs put together their third straight trip to the NLCS. They have been one of the league’s most dominant teams throughout the past three seasons and should be in that position for years to come. That being said, there is one player that they need to sign this offseason to give themselves an even better chance at another championship in the coming years.
Jake Arrieta has been a fan-favorite in Chicago since he was acquired from the Baltimore Orioles. He has been a dominant starting pitcher for the Cubs and even won the NL Cy Young following a historic 2015 season. Now, he is a free agent and is the answer for the Cubs once again.
Despite most of the rumors coming out that he will be leaving the Cubs this offseason in free agency, it appears that leaving town is not a sure thing.
According to a report from Carrie Muskat of MLB.com, the Cubs will meet with Arrieta to discuss a reunion once again. It has been reported that the two sides have disagreed on the length of his future contract, but the two sides obviously still have interest in coming to an agreement.
Theo will meet with agents for both Davis, Arrieta about possible return to #Cubs. Says "We're not ruling anything out."
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) December 11, 2017
There are quite a few that think the Cubs should move on and avoid paying Arrieta the money that he is looking for this offseason. Others don’t think that a four-year deal would be worth it for the 31-year-old starter.
Even with all of the doubts surrounding Arrieta’s contract, he is still an ideal fit for Joe Maddon’s rotation.
Last season with the Cubs, Arrieta got off to a bit of a rough start. By the end of the season, however, he was clicking on all cylinders. Unfortunately, an injury slowed him down late in the regular season.
— theScore (@theScore) December 12, 2017
Arrieta finished the 2017 season with a 14-10 record to go along with 3.53 ERA. It wasn’t his most impressive season, but the Cubs still relied heavily on the former Cy Young. He came through with two quality starts in the postseason and looked like his old self.
Looking at the Cubs’ current projected rotation, Arrieta would fit perfectly once again alongside Jose Quintana, Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, and Chatwood. Alex Cobb has been a rumored free agency target for the Cubs, but he is not capable of the dominant pitching that Arrieta can bring to the table.
As the old saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it;” the Cubs shouldn’t fix something that has been working for three straight seasons. Arrieta may want a lucrative contract, but he has earned it.
Chicago will have to contend with quite a few other teams to re-sign Arrieta. He is a hot commodity this offseason, but the Cubs should not risk breaking up the chemistry that they have found with Arrieta being one of their top leaders.
It will certainly be interesting to see what the Cubs end up doing throughout the remainder of the offseason. They could choose to move on from Arrieta, but that would be a mistake. Bringing back their former ace to form one of the best rotations in baseball once again should be a priority for Epstein.
Expect to hear more about a potential Cubs and Arrieta reunion in the near future. He may end up leaving town, but the Cubs should do everything in their power to come to a contract agreement with him.