Jake Arrieta doesn’t believe in hometown discounts because … why the heck would he?
The reigning National League Cy Young award winner is in line for a huge payday in less than two years, and although he said Wednesday that he likes playing in Chicago, he knows that some team is going to give him a massive contract. Asking him to take less money out of loyalty to the Cubs would be like asking the Cubs to give him extra money beyond what they want to give him, just because.
If Arrieta stays healthy, he’ll command $30 million a year or more in a long-term contract. I’ve made the argument that once you get above a certain number, adding on more millions won’t enhance your life. How many Bentleys do you need in the garage to be happy?
But Arrieta was the biggest reason, by far, the Cubs got to the NLCS last season. His numbers were historic, and there hasn’t been much dropoff so far this season. The club owes him a lot, and he’s expecting a lot.
Look, most of us would like for players to stay true to their teams, and at this moment in time with the Cubs, even more so. The club has something special going, perhaps for years ahead. But this isn’t a loyalty test. If Arrieta said that one of the conditions of signing him was the Cubs’ retaining all the players on the current roster for the next several years, no matter the cost, the team and everyone else would look at him like he’s crazy. Loyalty works both ways.
Stephen Strasburg, who just signed a seven-year, $175 million contract extension with Washington, was drafted by the Nationals and came up (quickly) through their system. That’s a homegrown situation. Arrieta has been a Cub since Baltimore traded him during the 2013 season. By comparison, that’s a guy who just moved to town.