Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon says ace Jake Arrieta is ‘probably gone’ as his demands get too rich for the team.
Speaking on Chicago radio yesterday, Cubs manager Joe Maddon stopped by to dump a giant bucket of cold water on any fans who were holding out hope that the team would find a way to keep ace right-hander Jake Arrieta. This news is not exactly shocking, as the Cubs have to be careful about managing their finances and length of contracts. Arrieta will be 32 in March and is seeking a deal as long as seven years.
Maddon was appearing on The Score 670’s “Spiegel and Perkins” and really did not pull any punches talking about the offseason plans so far.
Maddon responded: “As active as we’ve always been. Our guys are always looking to make things better. I can’t tell you specifically. Of course, Jake’s probably gone. I don’t know what’s up with Wade [Davis] and those kinds of guys. So, of course if they leave and they’re gone, we’re going to have to do something about it.”
Listen to the whole interview below. Maddon’s comments pick up around the 12-minute mark of the audio.
After an ugly start to his career with the Baltimore Orioles, Arrieta found a home with the Cubs and blossomed into one of the most dominant pitchers in the National League. He is 68-31 with a 2.73 ERA in parts of five seasons in Chicago and won the 2015 NL Cy Young with a 22-6 record and 1.77 ERA. Arrieta had his worst season with the Cubs in 2017, but still won 14 games.
Maddon’s mention of Wade Davis is also worth noting. The Cubs bullpen floundered in the second half and postseason, and there are not many other options at closer on the free-agent market. Theo Epstein has preferred to avoid giving out big contracts to closers, but he may not have much of a choice this year.
If the Cubs are indeed not able to re-sign Arrieta, they will need to add at least one free agent to fill his spot. As it stands, the Cubs have four starting pitchers on their roster with a few other uninspiring options. Epstein could turn to mid-tier options like Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb or Andrew Cashner at a steep discount to Arrieta to complete his rotation.