Following a heavy 2015 workload (248.2 innings, including the postseason) there were concerns as to how Jake Arrieta might respond atop the Cubs' rotation last season. After opening 2016 with a bang -- including his second career no-hitter in April -- Arrieta showed signs of regression during the second half, as his strikeout rate tumbled (from 26.1% to 20.9%) while his first-half control woes persisted (9.6% BB% in 2016 after he posted a 5.5% mark in 2015). At a glance, the walks seem like the biggest issue, but Arrieta's home-run rate nearly doubled from 2015, and it's fair to wonder if he's already peaked approaching his age-31 campaign. Even if 2016 is the new baseline, he is still an upper-tier starting pitcher. However, consecutive seasons with heavy workloads, and a reduced reliance on his cutter, may foretell more carefully monitored workloads, especially since he's only eclipsed 200 innings in the regular once as a big league starter.
Arrieta said he expects to talk to the Cubs again about a contract extension before he becomes a free agent next fall, The Chicago Sun-Times reports. "There's an open dialogue there. I think we will have talks," Arrieta said. "But it's not my No. 1 priority." The 30-year-old has resurrected his career since coming to Chicago in 2013, and he figures to be in line for a big payday next offseason. Whether the Cubs will be willing to meet the price tag will be a big storyline to watch.
Arrieta agreed to a one-year, $15.6375 million deal with the Cubs on Friday, avoiding arbitration, FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman reports. This is a monster number for Arrieta, but given his performance over the past three seasons, he would have had quite a compelling argument had his case gone to an arbiter. He makes for a low-end SP1 or high-end SP2 in fantasy leagues this season.
Arrieta is scheduled to start Game 2 of the Cubs' World Series matchup with the Indians, Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports. Arrieta had been lining up behind Kyle Hendricks through most of the postseason, but given the fact that Hendricks pitched Chicago's final NLCS game against the Dodgers, manager Joe Maddon decided to hand the ball to Arrieta in Game 2. The 30-year-old is expected to face Trevor Bauer at Progressive Field during Wednesday's tilt.
Manager Joe Maddon announced that Arrieta will start Game 3 of the NLDS, Jesse Rogers of ESPN reports. Arrieta was once again a rock for the Cubs this year, although his last few starts were a bit lackluster (4.60 ERA in his last five starts). Nonetheless, the right-hander will be tasked with a road assignment against either the Mets or the Giants on Monday as he looks to bounce back from his rough conclusion to the regular season.
Arrieta (18-8) was the losing pitcher in Wednesday's 8-4 loss to Pittsburgh, surrendering seven runs (all earned) on 10 hits while walking two and striking out four over five innings. Arrieta entered his final start with a 2.87 ERA, but Pittsburgh, primarily at the hands of John Jaso, left a dent -- and likely a sour taste in the NL Cy Young Award winner's mouth -- as the club tagged him for seven runs on 10 hits (both season highs) and lifted the healthy mark to 3.10 for the season.