Coming off a National League Cy Young Award in 2015 and a dazzling start this season, Chicago Cubs ace Jake Arrieta is seeking big money and a long-term contract from the team that helped him reinvent his career.  

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Cubs, Arrieta Far Apart in Contract Talks

Friday, April 29

Per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, Arrieta is seeking a seven-year deal, and the Cubs are currently offering four years, with “no optimism” that a deal gets done soon. 

Arrieta has been nearly unhittable since the 2015 All-Star break. He had a 0.75 ERA, 55 hits allowed and 113 strikeouts in 107.1 innings in the second half last year en route to winning the NL Cy Young Award. 

Proving his late flurry was no fluke, Arrieta is off to a 5-0 start this year with a 1.00 ERA, 18 hits allowed, 32 strikeouts and one no-hitter in 36 innings this season. He’s making $10.7 million this season, his second year being eligible for arbitration, per Spotrac

Even though Arrieta’s performance warrants consideration for a long-term contract, the Cubs have all the leverage with their star right-hander. He’s under control through next season and will be a free agent heading into his age-32 season in 2018. 

Zack Greinke, who turned 32 last October, signed a six-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks in December after finishing third in NL Cy Young Award voting with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015. He’s struggled out of the gate this year, admittedly in a small sample size, posting a 6.16 ERA with an MLB-high 39 hits allowed in 30.2 innings.  

But long-term deals for pitchers over the age of 30 are a riskier gamble because the stress of pitching, combined with advanced age, can lead to health problems. CC Sabathia has been an albatross for the New York Yankees since 2013. 

The Cubs front office is revered in MLB because it builds through drafts and trades, while largely avoiding big mistakes. Its big investment this winter, Jason Heyward, was unique because he was a free agent at 26. 

If Arrieta continues to be the most dominant starter in baseball, he will eventually get the deal he seeks. It may not come from the Cubs, but they don’t have to worry about losing him for two years. 

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