Chicago Cubs analysis: Pause and think before signing Arrieta to a multi-year extension

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Oct 7, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta celebrates with his son Cooper after defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Wild Card playoff baseball game at PNC Park. Cubs won 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Based on his performance this season, Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta deserves the 2015 National League Cy Young award but that doesn’t mean that Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer should pencil Arrieta in for a long-term, mega-contract just yet.

In 229.0 innings of work this season, Jake Arrieta accumulated a 22-6 record and an ERA of 1.77. He struck out 236 batters while holding opponents to a .185 batting average. He vaulted himself to the forefront of the Cy Young discussion during the second half of the season. According to statistician Ryan Spaeder, Arrieta’s second half ERA of 0.76 was the lowest second half ERA in the history of the MLB. He finished the season with 20 consecutive quality starts and a 22 inning scoreless streak. From the beginning of August until the end of the season, he posted a 0.41 ERA. Over the course of the regular season, he was top three in the National League in wins, innings pitched, strikeouts, earned run average, WHIP, winning percentage and complete games.

Arrieta will remain under the control of the Chicago Cubs for at least two more seasons before he becomes a free agent after the 2017 season. According to Chicago Sun-Times writer Gordon Wittenmyer, the Chicago Cubs haven’t begun contract extension talks with Jake Arrieta yet. According to Fangraphs, the Chicago Cubs have the opportunity to sign Arrieta at any point between now and when he becomes a free agent.

"If a player qualifies for arbitration, they can still reach a contract agreement with their team and choose not to go to a hearing. If the two sides cannot reach an agreement, though, both sides submit their salary request to an arbitration panel –courtesy of fangraphs"

Naturally, before making a huge multi-year investment, the Chicago Cubs should consider if Jake Arrieta will be worth the money given to him across the life of his contract. Jake Arrieta showed some red flags this season and that should cause the Chicago Cubs to pause before they decide to max out their resources to try to sign him to an extension.

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