Jake Arrieta was one of the most talked about names coming into the MLB offseason, but has yet to sign a contract. He has held out for a lucrative deal, but no team seems to be offering him the kind of contract that he wants. Now that spring training is underway and time is drawing short for Arrieta to find work, he should consider returning to the Chicago Cubs on a one-year deal.
That’s right, Arrieta should sign a lucrative one-year contract with the Cubs to create a “super-rotation” of sorts.
Chicago is heading into the 2018 MLB season with a rotation that consists of Yu Darvish, Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester, Jose Quintana, and Tyler Chatwood. Adding Arrieta into that rotation would bump Chatwood to the bullpen, but would arguably give them the most talented rotation in baseball.
Last season with the Cubs, Arrieta finished with a 14-10 record to go along with a 3.53 ERA, according to ESPN statistics. He also had two outings in the postseason, finishing with a 0.84 ERA. Arrieta’s postseason success is one of the selling points that his agent, Scott Boras, has been trying to sell to teams as to why he deserves a massive contract.
Why should Arrieta settle for a one-year deal with the Cubs and focus on getting his big contract next offseason?
Quite simply, this offseason has been one of the slowest in recent history. Teams have been trying to save money for next offseason, with a very talented crop of free agents ready to hit the market. If Arrieta takes a one-year deal and puts up yet another big year, his value will skyrocket next offseason when teams are throwing more money around.
Arrieta has had a lot of success with the Cubs’ franchise, growing from a backend rotation guy to a Cy Young winner back in 2015. He had one of the best seasons in recent history for a starting pitcher in 2015, going 22-6 with a shocking 1.77 ERA. His past two seasons haven’t been as dominant, but he has still become a feared starter.
While a massive contract would certainly be the preferred option for Arrieta, that doesn’t appear likely, especially from a contender. The last thing Arrieta should do at this point in his career is to take a massive deal from a non-contender. Signing just for the money and sacrificing the ability to compete for a title isn’t something that will help Arrieta long-term.
Theo Epstein has a track record of signing players to one-year deals that have been with the franchise. Look back at the Dexter Fowler situation, where he signed to begin spring training out of the blue. That doesn’t mean that Arrieta’s situation is similar, but it is certainly not out of the realm of possibility.
All of that being said, Arrieta will do what is in his best interests. Signing a one-year deal may not be something that he is too terribly interested in, but it would make a lot of sense.
Coming back to Chicago for one final season and competing for a second World Series could be exactly what Arrieta needs to get the big payday that he is looking for. Chicago fans would certainly love to see “The Beard” back for one more season.
It may not be terribly likely that Arrieta returns to the Cubs for one more season, but it might just be the best option for Arrieta’s future to consider that option.