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

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Oct 13, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta (right) celebrates with catcher David Ross (left) after defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in game four of the NLDS at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Another reason that the Chicago Cubs front office needs to carefully consider a possible Jake Arrieta extension is his age. Arrieta turns 30 in March and would turn 32 when the beginning of the 2018 MLB season begins. According to Beyond the Box Score writer Scott Lindholm, on average MLB pitchers begin to see drop-offs in performance at or around the age of 26. Obviously, Arrieta’s 2015 season defies these numbers. However, the odds are against him in terms of his ability to continue to perform at this high of a level as he continues to age.

*fWAR: Wins above replacement according to data compiled by fangraphs

According to CSN-Chicago writer Patrick Mooney, Arrieta’s agent Scott Boras wants his client to cash in big on the next contract that he signs. Another Boras client, Max Scherzer, rejected a six-year $144 million contract in favor of a seven-year, $210 million contract with the Washington Nationals.

The law of averages states that Arrieta’s production will drop-off the table long before the life of his contract expires. Even if the two sides are able to agree on a contract extension this season, the life of the contract would extend until Arrieta is in his mid-30s.

Are the Cubs willing to pay Arrieta a huge contract in hopes that he can remain great for the next three or four years and just accept that his production will drop-off towards the end of his contract? This is another question that the Cubs need to consider before any contract deal is agreed upon.

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