Before signing Yu Darvish to a six year contract worth $126 million, the Cubs made “one last call” to former ace Jake Arrieta to gauge his interest in signing a similar deal, according to a piece by Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Notably, the similar offer to Arrieta was contingent on Darvish declining the Cubs' offer or signing with another team; no official offer was made.
Heyman notes that Arrieta “was not prepared” to accept a deal, which could mean one of a few things, based on my own speculation: (a) Arrieta is still expecting a better contract, either in terms of total cash or average annual value, (b) the offer was so far from a reality that Arrieta did not want to accept a mere hypothetical, or (c), the call was really nothing more than one last courtesy, and the deal with Darvish was too close to completion for it to actually fall through.
Nevertheless, the Darvish signing all but officially closes the book on Arrieta’s chances to return to the Cubs, as the team has a full rotation with Darvish and fellow offseason addition Tyler Chatwood, as well as returnees Jon Lester, Jose Quintana and Kyle Hendricks.
Arrieta could not match his brilliant Cy Young 2015 season in 2016, and couldn’t match his still very good 2016 showing this past season, so it’s very possible that a continued decline is in the works for Arrieta. He was still very good in 2017, posting a 3.53 ERA in 30 starts, though he threw just 1681⁄3 innings. Arrieta struck out 163 batters while walking 55, though he did hit 10 batters and lead the NL in wild pitches for the second straight year, uncorking 14.
In the same piece linked above, Heyman posits five potential fits for Arrieta: the Brewers, Twins, Nationals, Phillies, and Cardinals. Based on budgets and rosters, I’d posit that the Twins and Phillies are the two best fits for the 32-year-old right-hander, but time will tell as to which team he chooses and which teams actually put offers forth.