clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Jake Arrieta is still unsigned and he could be making a big mistake

Will the former Cub have a team on Opening Day?

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — It’s March 1. We are a week into spring training games; at least for the Cubs, the rotation has been set for Opening Day and those starters are beginning to take their regular turns.

And Jake Arrieta remains unsigned.

Here’s an article published on today that sums up all of Jake’s supposed suitors over the last month. Each quote is from the article, and the date originally published noted:

Nationals, February 28

As they’ve already begun to roll out their rotation in Spring Training, the Nationals may be in the market to add another arm, and the club is reportedly still engaged with Arrieta, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, who noted the right-hander remains Washington’s top prize.

However, Nightengale notes that the club’s dialogue is part of an overall monitoring of the market, which indicates they may be looking at other options.

Nationals, February 25

The Nationals, Brewers, Yankees, Phillies, Rangers and Orioles are “among the teams continuing to monitor the top available starting pitchers,” according to’s Jon Paul Morosi. Arrieta fits the bill.

Per Morosi, rival executives think Washington could jump on the right-hander if his price falls to within their range.

Phillies, February 22

Phillies owner John Middleton addressed Jake Arrieta and the starting-pitching market on Thursday, saying, “It’s hard to characterize it at this point” whether the team will be able to add a starting pitcher before Opening Day.

Arrieta would of course be a huge get for the Phillies, but they might be too far apart in terms of contract length.

Phillies, February 22

Philadelphia and Jake Arrieta “are having dialogue” about a potential deal, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.

Heyman notes that Phillies president Andy MacPhail, general manager Matt Klentak and director of player development Joe Jordan “love [Arrieta] from their days in Baltimore together.”

Brewers, February 15

The Brewers have already taken aggressive measures to bolster a roster that last year finished just one game shy of the postseason, yet their most glaring personnel deficiency -- a need for at least one top-of-the-rotation arm -- remains unaddressed. For this, and with the division-rival Cubs’ signing Yu Darvish, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman predicts in a post for FanRag Sports that Arrieta’s most suitable landing spot is Milwaukee.

Brewers/Twins, February 12

The Brewers and Twins, two teams previously linked to Darvish, now appear to be two of the favorites to land Arrieta, according to a report from MLB Network insider Jon Heyman on Sunday night. The Nationals, Phillies and Cardinals are also possible destinations for Arrieta, according to Heyman.

Per Heyman, the Brewers could be the most logical fit, and Milwaukee has “been in touch” with Arrieta.

I mean, seriously... what is Jake doing? He’s been rumored to want a contract like the one Max Scherzer signed with the Nats three years ago. Jake, love ya buddy, but you’re not Max Scherzer. That contract ship has sailed. Most likely, so has the one that would have Jake get a deal like the one Darvish signed with the Cubs. If the Cubs had valued Jake as much as they did Darvish, they probably would have signed him to such a deal. (And the report that Jake was, at the last minute before the Darvish signing, offered the identical deal has been debunked.)

Scott Boras, Arrieta’s agent, is famous for playing hardball with teams and sometimes even getting them to bid against themselves. Boras appears to have misjudged this year’s market, as quite a number of his clients are still unsigned. At a certain point, wouldn’t you as an agent want to get your clients jobs? What’s the purpose of continuing to sit out?

In this Jeff Passan article about baseball economics last month, there appeared this passage:

Recently, one of the best free agents available this offseason met with a friend, and he admitted something shocking: He was preparing to sit out until the middle of the season. The market for his services this winter was so thin, the offers so incompatible with his production, that he worried he was going to need an external force to compel teams to pay him what his numbers say he’s worth. Maybe it would take a playoff race.

We don’t know who that “best free agent” is, but there were rumors that it was Jake Arrieta.

And so I ask again: What is Jake doing? Does he really think some team is going to come calling at midseason, after he’s sat out and not pitched, and suddenly inject him into a pennant race? That just doesn’t seem likely. Arrieta’s peers are already playing baseball and getting ready for the season. I’m sure Jake is staying in shape and working out, but that’s not like actually playing the game. If he did sit out till midseason and signed, whoever signed him would probably want him to make a rehab start or two in the minor leagues, if that’s even possible.

In my view, Jake ought to sign, now, even if that means taking a one-year deal and hoping he has a really good year — then he might do better in next offseason’s free-agent market.

Because right now, his 2018 salary is $0. I think his extended holdout is a huge mistake. The Phillies, for one, might be moving on:

Lots of “contact” and “dialogue,” with little action. Will the season start with Jake, Lynn and Alex Cobb still unsigned? It’s beginning to look that way, and I think for all three of those pitchers, that’s a bad thing.