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Joe Maddon says Jake Arrieta is ‘probably gone’

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This isn’t really a surprise.

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 18:  Jake Arrieta #49 of the Chicago Cubs stands on the mound in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game four of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field on October 18, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

We’ve anticipated for quite some time that Jake Arrieta would probably leave the Cubs via free agency this winter.

Manager Joe Maddon, on 670 The Score Friday, came right out and said it:

“Jake’s probably gone,” Maddon said in an interview on the Spiegel and Parkins Show on 670 The Score on Friday afternoon.

We don’t know if this is something Maddon’s been told by management, that they have no intention of meeting Jake’s price, or whether he has heard from Arrieta himself that he’s going to go elsewhere.

And nothing’s confirmed until Arrieta signs a contract with another team. We’ll miss the production he’s given over the last five seasons, but in reality this is likely the best move for the team. They can use the money that might have gone to Arrieta for other payroll needs, and there’s a strong likelihood that some other team will pay for his decline years.

The other bit of news that came out of the interview was also something we’ve known for quite some time:

The Cubs have turned their attention to right-hander Alex Cobb in free agency, and Maddon expects it to be a busy offseason again.

“As active as we’ve always been — our guys are always looking to make things better,” Maddon said.

Alex Cobb is such a good fit for the Cubs in almost every way that I’m not certain what the holdup is. It can’t be that Cobb is holding out for some sort of huge contract, as most analysts have put him in the four-year, $50 million range.

This offseason has been really, really, really quiet, and I’m mainly posting this really obvious information simply to open up discussion on various free agent targets. Here’s hoping the Cubs sign Cobb soon, and make other moves to improve the 2018 team.