In a chat with Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, Phillies hurler Jake Arrieta verified prior reports that Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein made a last-ditch offer before the team agreed to terms with Yu Darvish.
Arrieta, who ultimately signed with the Philadelphia organization later in the winter, tells Wittenmyer that he does not really believe that Epstein expected to get a deal done when he called with a “take it or leave it” proposal of six years and $120MM. That statement reflects previous reporting on the perceptions of both sides to that conversation.
While he emphasized that he harbors no ill will at all toward Epstein or the Cubs organization, Arrieta says that approach was a non-starter, even though he had yet to receive a formal contract offer to that point:
“[T]hey weren’t willing to negotiate at all, and that wasn’t acceptable for me,” Arrieta tells Wittenmyer. “I bet on myself just like I have my entire career and ended up getting a good deal.”
Arrieta, of course, is referring to the three-year, $75MM guarantee he took down from the Phils. He obviously preferred the higher average annual value but also emphasized in his comments that he expects to play longer than that in Philadelphia. Arrieta’s deal includes a provision that allows the Phillies to add on two years at a salary of $20MM or more (depending upon escalators) per season.
The veteran hurler certainly exuded confidence in his chat with Wittenmyer, which is well worth a full read. Among other things, he discussed his leadership efforts with the Phillies and flatly rejected the idea that there’s any concern with how he’ll age — or how his velocity will hold up — over the course of his new contract. To the contrary, Arrieta suggests his new organization will receive an exceptional player. “There’s not many like me,” he tells Wittenmyer. “… I don’t care what the situation is, I bet on myself to get the job done.”