You know the story by now. Pitchers and catchers are reporting to spring training next week and most of the top free agents haven’t signed. The league and the MLBPA are going back and forth arguing who’s fault it is, as we get closer to the season. A few agents are saying teams aren’t even calling and in Bob Nightengale’s latest article in USA TODAY, there was an interesting note about the Chicago Cubs and Jake Arrieta that makes you think it’s true.
Here’s what Nightengale says regarding the interaction or lack thereof between the Cubs and Arrieta.
One of the biggest fears for teams seeking Arrieta: What do the Cubs know about him that the rest of baseball doesn’t? The Cubs and Arrieta barely even engaged in contract talks this winter, leaving a reunion as unlikely as a Bill Belichick comedy show
Maybe you missed it after that awful joke, but Nightengale is reporting that the Cubs and Arrieta have barely talked this offseason. Again, this goes back to the biggest storyline of the winter. Which side is being unreasonable, the teams or the players?
Arrieta’s agent is Scott Boras and ever since his 2015 Cy Young season, Boras has been talking about seeking a Max Scherzer type deal for Arrieta. Scherzer signed a seven-year, $210 million contract with the Washington Nationals in 2015.
While Arrieta followed up his Cy Young year with a solid 2016, his control hasn’t been the same and in 2017 his fastball velocity decreased, making him look a lot more human compared to the machine he was a few years ago. However, despite the decreasing quality in his pitching, there was a report earlier this offseason that Boras was still seeking a huge contract for Arrieta.
One MLB executive told ESPN he’s under the impression Boras is seeking a long-term contract in the $200 million range for Arrieta, but Boras said he has not set any specific parameters with teams.
That was back in December.
We’re two months removed from that, so is Boras still asking for that much and is that why the Cubs have barely talked to Arrieta? If that’s the case it makes sense why there hasn’t been much contact, but of course everyone is waiting for Yu Darvish to sign.
In Nightengale’s article, he also gives his predictions for the best remaining free agents and he wrote this about Darvish.
Darvish has several teams who have offered five-year deals, and he would like to at least get the six-year, $130 million contract that Johnny Cueto received two years ago with the San Francisco Giants.
Three teams badly need him – the Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Twins and Milwaukee Brewers – but he continues to wait to see if the New York Yankees or Los Angeles Dodgers can move some contracts to make it work.
A couple things. If Darvish really is seeking a six-year deal worth $130 million, then the Cubs should jump all over that. What’s odd is that Nightengale thinks Darvish ultimately does sign with the Cubs for five years and $125 million. That’s $25 million a year compared to $21.7 million a year that Johnny Cueto go from the San Francisco Giants. So again, why wouldn’t the Cubs just give him that sixth year?
Also, the Cubs don’t “badly” need Darvish. It would be great if they did get him, but as it stands now they’re still one of the best three teams in the National League.
What a miserable offseason and it doesn’t appear as though things are changing anytime soon.