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The Cubs could be interested in a Jake Arrieta return after all

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So says one report.

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The 2017-18 offseason is going about as quickly as the glaciers overtaking Europe in the last Ice Age.

How slow? This slow:

Well... hopefully we get a resolution to all this not in 13 years, but in the next six weeks, before pitchers and catchers report to spring training.

What’s this, you say? A Jake Arrieta rumor?

Looking ahead, the Cubs have a renewed interest in bringing back Arrieta, sources said. Arrieta, who turns 32 in March, had a 3.53 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 30 starts in 2017. The two clubs showing the most interest in Arrieta are the Cubs and Cardinals, according to one industry source.

That rumor, from Bruce Levine, is also mentioned by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale:

Oh sure, the Chicago Cubs still need a front-line starter, and would be willing to bring back Arrieta on a four-year deal for about $110 million, but sorry, they refuse to dish out a six-year deal.

We all know what Jake can bring to the Cubs when he’s on, and he did have a good year in 2017, posting a 3.53 ERA, 1.218 WHIP and 1.9 bWAR. That’s not close to his magnificent 2015 season, though having said that, it would be nearly impossible for anyone to match that. For the last three months of 2017, though, Jake posted a 2.26 ERA and 1.054 WHIP in 14 starts. Is that sustainable over a full season?

The reported $110 million over four years would be an AAV of $27.5 million, which would eat up all of the estimated room the Cubs have before they’d hit luxury tax territory (this presumes they want to save about $10 million for mid-season acquisitions).

Would you do this? Jake, obviously, has a history and comfort level with the Cubs and most of those players who would be returning in 2018. If you believe that “Bosmosis” was responsible for Jake’s turnaround, he would have a new pitching coach in Jim Hickey.

Personally? At that price — and it would likely be similar — I think I’d rather have Yu Darvish for the next four years.