By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — An arbitration settlement between the Chicago Cubs and National League Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta still appears likely before next Tuesday’s scheduled hearing in the Phoenix area.
The Cubs have offered $7.5 million. Arrieta and powerful agent Scott Boras have requested $13 million.
What’s at stake is possibly the highest increase and pay for a second-year arbitration pitcher in the history of the process. David Price set that second-year arbitration record by getting $10.1125 million from the Rays in 2013. That was about a $5.8 million increase from his $4.35 million contract of 2012.
Arrieta, 29, made $3.63 million in 2015, when he went 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA. The midway point of the two offers for his case would be $10.25 million, easily attainable for both sides and which would mark an increase of $6.62 million. If Boras and Arrieta want to push further, the two sides may take all weekend to dice out the issue. Both parties have said that there will be no personal hard feelings throughout this process, which can sometimes become contentious as the sides argue in their own favor.
The Arrieta camp would love to resolve this all with a long-term contract. A six-year deal was floated in some areas in the last few weeks. After having the best second half of any pitcher in baseball history by posting a 0.75 ERA, Arrieta would love to make a career commitment to Chicago. The Cubs may want to see a second dominant season by Arrieta before putting a $25-million-a-year price tag on a long-term deal.
“It is absolutely realistic,” Arrieta said of the possibility of a long-term contract a couple weeks ago at Cubs Convention. “Myself, my wife and kids are extremely happy here in Chicago. It is up to the Cubs and my agent to get together and have that conversation and see where it goes.”
The Cubs have contract control of Arrieta for two more seasons. He’s set to become a free agent in November 2017.
“It is a possibility, and I would like to see where it goes, “Arrieta said of a long commitment by both sides. “Maybe something will get done.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.