Jake Arrieta’s detached discussion of his future with the Cubs last winter prompted me to write that he already had one foot out the door. Well, Joe Maddon may have just dropped the other shoe on that idea. Though he covered much more during the course of his appearance on the Spiegel and Parkins show, a simple three-word proclamation said the most.
“Jake’s probably gone,” the Cubs manager admitted.
As much as many fans, probably some of you reading this right now, have been clamoring for the Cubs to re-sign the former Cy Young winner, Maddon’s words shouldn’t surprise you in the least. After all, Arrieta’s departure has been more or less inevitable for the last two years.
He was adamant after the 2015 season that he was not interested in signing an extension, repeating the mantra that he was going to be a Cub for at least the next two years. Then there was the Stephen Strasburg extension in May of 2016 that effectively set the market for Arrieta, or that at least set Arrieta’s expectations for himself. Fast forward to last winter, when Arrieta again spoke frankly about reaching free agency.
Jon Heyman reported earlier this week that a gulf of years and money existed between the Cubs and Arrieta and that the two sides hadn’t spoke since the GM Meetings in mid-November. Again, not surprising at all, but it does add a bit of credence to what had previously been reading between the lines. Granted, the writing was in pretty big font.
You can feel free to take this with a grain of salt, particularly in light of the kerfuffle Maddon started with his statements toward the end of the season. Oddly enough, he was largely addressing his coaching staff this time around as well. But it’s not as if Maddon was mincing words or even allowing for interpretation. No, he was pretty clear.
Jake’s probably gone.