6:22pm: The two sides have agreed to a deal,
6:08pm: The Cubs are nearing a contract with their former ace, right-hander Jake Arrieta, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports. It’ll be a one-year deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. He’ll likely earn $6.5MM to $7MM, per Jesse Rogers of ESPN. Arrieta is a client of the Boras Corporation.
Arrieta, who struggled at the beginning of his career as an Oriole, joined the Cubs in a trade in 2013 and was an enormous success with the team through 2017. He earned a Cy Young (2015) and a World Series title (2016) as a Cub, and he also recorded a sterling 2.73 ERA/3.49 SIERA across 803 regular-season innings with the team.
The Cubs tried to keep Arrieta when he became a free agent heading into 2018, but they were unwilling to match the Phillies’ three-year, $75MM contract. The Phillies thought they were adding an ace when they defeated the Cubs for Arrieta’s services, but that didn’t prove to be the case. Arrieta threw 352 2/3 innings with the club but disappointed with a 4.36 ERA/4.57 SIERA, which was more indicative of a back-end starter than a No. 1 type.
Because of his mediocre performance as a Phillie, Arrieta had no chance to rake in another high-paying contract this offseason. But Arrieta should earn plenty of starts now that he is back with the Cubs, who have just two proven options ahead of him in Kyle Hendricks and Zach Davies. Alec Mills, Trevor Williams and Adbert Alzolay look like the most realistic candidates to fill out their top five.