Cubs Jake Arrieta changes tune with free agency looming

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 17: Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta (49) looks on after hitting Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman David Freese (23) in the fifth inning during an MLB game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Chicago Cubs on June 17, 2017 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire)
Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire

It is no secret that Chicago Cubs right-handed starting pitcher Jake Arrieta will become a free agent following the conclusion of the 2017 campaign. However, while he expects to garner a big payday on the open market, it appears as though former National League Cy Young Award winner has changed his tune.

“If I have to leave, I don’t want to leave without another ring,” Arrieta said, via Comcast SportsNet Chicago, after Saturday evening’s 10-3 win over his former team in the Baltimore Orioles.

The 31-year-old right-hander has split his big league career between Baltimore and Chicago while remaining in the “Windy City” since midway through the 2013 regular season.

“I would love to stay,” Arrieta added. “That would be cool. But if it doesn’t work out, that’s the nature of professional sports.

“We’re all on the same page here. Regardless of how we played the first half, that’s the end goal – to get back to the playoffs and then just have the chance to roll the dice and see what happens in October. And hopefully we get to play in November.”

Making 19 starts for the Cubs thus far in 2017, the veteran hurler currently owns a 4.17 ERA alongside a 9-7 record. He has also struck out 105 opposing batters while walking 38 others across an even 108 innings pitched.

“I joke with my friends,” Arrieta continued. “I kind of tell them how I think I’m going to finish the second half. I don’t know if I’ll verbalize that to you guys, but I’m very confident.

“We didn’t perform the way we would like – all the way around – [in the first half]. We expect better things from ourselves as a team overall. That’s the competitive nature of all these guys in this clubhouse. We want to get back to where we were last year. We want to get to the playoffs and have a shot to play into November again. It’s still within reach.”

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