By Todd Johnson
It’s been ten days since the Cubs won the World Series. It took a few days to truly sink in. Last Friday (November 4), I taught all day. In three of my classes, we watched the ceremony for a little bit. I watched it on my lunch and again in my last class of the day. When I left school, I had to run to Rockford, back to my house, then to DeKalb for my wife, and finally, two errands in Sycamore. Around 6 o’clock, I began the final trek home. So, I was in the car for three hours listening to 670 The Score and letting the ceremony sink in. Finally, it began starting to hit me. I don’t think I fully realized it until I figured out in my mind that there wasn’t any more baseball left to be played and the Cubs won the last game of the year!
When I begin to look back at the World Series, I think one player needs to get more credit than he’s received in the press. That is Jake Arrieta. He pitched like it was nobody’s business in the Series. He took it to the Indians game two and then again in game six, BOTH ON THE ROAD. Despite what some saw as a regression in the second half of the regular 2016 season, he manned up big time in the World Series and became Mr. November. He was 2-0 with a 2.38 ERA in 11.1 IP where he also struck out 15.
What he did in the second half of 2015 was unfathomable. However, it was just not sustainable. No one is going to pitch like that over an entire season and it was ridiculous for people to expect that from him in 2016. The man still had a great year in 2016, comparatively. He went 18-8 with a 3.10 ERA in 197.1 IP with 190 Ks. I don’t care who you are, that’s still a very good season.
I don’t think that his agent Scott Boris is going to let him sign an extension with the Cubs this offseason unless it’s for nine figures and six years. More than likely, Arrieta will test free agency next year. Someone is going to offer him anywhere between $125-$150 million on a six-year deal. I think that’s the set market. I think his end price will truly be determined by how he does next year.
I don’t know how much pressure he’s gonna put on himself in 2017, but he looked extremely relaxed and determined in the post season.
But after two years and 200 innings per year (including the postseason), Arrieta really solidified himself in the market with his World Series performance. His play this postseason was spectacular (except for one start in the NLCS). The fact that he took a no-hitter into the sixth inning of game six of the World Series is something I find to be one of the most amazing but yet not talked about aspects of the Cubs championship run.