Don’t be surprised if market brings Jake Arrieta back to Cubs

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CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 18: Jake Arrieta #49 of the Chicago Cubs acknowledges the crowd after being relieved 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)

Raise your hand if you believe pitcher Jake Arrieta will land the six-year mega contract agent Scott Boras is seeking in this stagnant market.

Exactly.

The latest rumblings on an Arrieta landing spot focus on two teams: The Cubs and Cardinals.

RELATED STORIES: Your Turn: Are the Cubs Still No. 1? Should the Bulls be tanking? Why not UCF? Should the Cubs be putting a Darvish-like effort into Arrieta?

And if anything smells of a Boras-fueled rumor, it’s that one. Taunt the Cubs into stepping up interest in your client by dropping rumors that the hated Cardinals are in hot pursuit.

Nothing suggests the Cardinals are poised to drop more than $100 million and commit to six years on Arrieta.

Take a look at the Cardinals’ projected rotation (even after the losses of Lance Lynn and Mike Leake): Adam Wainright, Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha, Luke Weaver and Miles Mikolas.

“A lot of quality arms,” Cardinals president John Mozeliak told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch last month, acknowledging Martinez as capable of being the rotation’s No. 1 pitcher. “I think a lot depends on how Adam Wainwright looks. We’re hopeful that he’s the Adam of old.

“I think you look the year Wacha had and that’s [repeated]. When you look at what Weaver did last year, he’s going to fit right in and be ready to go. We’ve got that one spot to fill and we signed Miles to be somebody that we could count on. … I feel pretty good.”

This doesn’t mean thatMozeliak wouldn’t take a hard look at Arrieta, but it doesn’t seem to be the Cardinals’ biggest need these days.

Arrieta will turn 32 on March 6 — meaning on Opening Day of the final year of a six-year contract, he will be 37. For a pitcher whose numbers have been on a slide the last two seasons — especially ERA and innings — six years seems like a dicey commitment that the market is rejecting.

Arrieta still makes more sense for the Cubs than chasing Yu Darvish, as our Gordon Wittenmyer pointed out last month.

Recent talk of the Cubs being interested in a four-year deal in the $110 million range for Arrieta seems more realistic.

The question is how long will it take Boras and Arrieta to come around to that kind of thinking?

By the way, check out this ESPN post on the merits of Darvish vs. Arrieta.


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