The Cubs reportedly agreed to a one-year, $15.3675 million deal with right-hander Jake Arrieta on Friday, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. Arrieta is entering his third and final year of arbitration eligibility, and Carrie Muskat of MLB.com points out that only the Nationals’ Max Scherzer received a higher raise for a third-year-eligible starter, at $8.8 million in 2014.
Arrieta, 30, followed a career-best performance in 2015 with an 18-8 record, 3.10 ERA and 3.8 fWAR over 197 1/3 innings in 2016. His strikeout rate dipped from a 9.3 SO/9 to 8.7, while his walk rate hit a 3.5 BB/9 clip, nearly double that of his previous season totals. Although he was unable to successfully defend his 2015 Cy Young title, Arrieta delivered his second career no-hitter against the Reds in April and pitched to a 3.63 ERA over 22 1/3 innings during the Cubs’ championship run.
If any extension talks have progressed this month, as Arrieta’s agent, Scott Boras, hinted they would back in December, nothing has been publicized just yet. The Cubs have yet to confirm the settlement.
The deadline for teams and players to exchange arbitration figures was today, and after figures are exchanged deals tend not get done. As such, there are scores of players who have reached deals with their clubs today in order to avoid arbitration. We’re not tracking every single one — that’s rather tedious — but we’re mentioning the notable ones.
Maybe the most notable: Bryce Harper, who avoided arbitration with the Washington Nationals and will now make $13.625 million in 2018.
Harper made $5 million last season, the second one after signing a two-year deal in December of 2014. He’s still under team control through the 2018 season, so he and the Nats will have one more go-around with this next winter. He’ll turn 26 after that season and some suspect the 2015 MVP could command a long term contract of $400 million or more if he hits free agency.
The next two years will say a lot about that of course. His talent and marketability is undeniable. The only issue, really, is his health, which likely sapped his production in 2016. If he rakes this coming season he’ll likely get a record arbitration deal next winter and will set himself up for perhaps the largest contract in baseball history.
Nationals starter Max Scherzer will not pitch in the upcoming World Baseball Classic due to a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger, MASN’s Mark Zuckerman reports. Scherzer is still expected to be ready for spring training. He and the Nationals likely don’t want to add any unnecessary risk by having him pitch in games that don’t matter for the team.
Scherzer, 32, is the defending National League Cy Young Award winner after going 20-7 with a 2.96 ERA and a 284/56 K/BB ratio in 228 1/3 innings this past season. His wins and innings totals led the National League while his strikeout total and 0.968 WHIP were major league bests.
Scherzer has five years and $135 million remaining on his seven-year contract signed with the Nationals in January two years ago.