Chicago Cubs: Jake Arrieta is dominating his way to free agency

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 13: Starting pitcher Jake Arrieta
PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 13: Starting pitcher Jake Arrieta /

Jake Arrieta of the Chicago Cubs will be one of the top free agents available and with the way he is pitching, it is going to be a huge payday for him.

On Friday, the Chicago Cubs defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 7-4 after another very strong start from Jake Arrieta. He pitched 6.1 innings, allowing one run on six hits and two walks while striking out six batters. After struggling his way through June, Arrieta has turned it around and is pitching very well for the Chicago Cubs.

After Friday’s win, Arrieta now has six wins and two losses along with a 2.03 ERA and 0.95 WHIP over his previous nine starts. Over those nine outings, he has pitched 57.2 innings. Before those nine starts, Arrieta was incredibly inconsistent and it seemed to have carried over from 2016.

Taking his last 16 starts of 2016 and his first 16 starts of 2017, Arrieta had posted a 4.55 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP with 72 hitters walked over 188 innings. The Chicago Cubs were heavily concerned with Arrieta’s inconsistency and because his command of the strike zone was visibly lacking.

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Arrieta bet on himself when he refused to consider a contract extension with the Cubs before entering free agency. With how his season was going before his recent success, it looked like Arrieta made a huge mistake. However, he’s turned things around and now looks like his former 2015 ace-like self. That is a tough comparison, though, since his 2015 run was one of the best in all of baseball history.

Chicago Cubs fans and Arrieta supporters should also temper expectations. After all, it’s only nine starts, but in those nine starts Arrieta has looked every bit an ace again. He will be 32 years old and a five-year contract worth over $100 million is the most likely and expected deal he gets. The only starter that may be more sought-after is recent Los Angeles Dodgers addition Yu Darvish.

The Cubs won a World Series with Jake Arrieta at the top of their rotation but it is unknown whether they will be willing to pay the price to sign him again. He ended up being an absolute stud for them, but with their past lack of negotiations and his inconsistency earlier in the year, they may prefer to move on. However, not many pitchers available this winter offer the kind of Cy Young upside he does.

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Bottom line, Arrieta’s hot streak is great for him since he is about to enter free agency. It also benefits the Chicago Cubs as they attempt to maintain their slim lead over the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Central Division. They need every win they can get, and with how Arrieta is pitching, it is tough to lose. Look for his name to be one of the most rumored this winter, but right now enjoy his dominance.