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The Cubs and Jake Arrieta disagree on years for 'mega extension'

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Tuesday's Say Hey, Baseball includes Jake Arrieta's need for years, the five most important players of the NL West, and Jhonny Peralta's disappointing injury.

League Championship - Chicago Cubs v New York Mets - Game Two Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

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Jake Arrieta is one of the best pitchers in baseball, and he would like to be paid that way. The Cubs don't necessarily disagree with that notion -- they're a big-budget team, and Arrieta is going to end up expensive in arbitration anyway, so why not extend him so they get more from him in the long run? The two sides were actually discussing a "mega extension," to use Jon Heyman's phrase, but things quickly came apart when it was clear the two sides were not going to agree on the length of the deal. Reportedly, Arrieta was looking for a seven-year deal, which, depending on when the contract starts, would leave him at 36 or 37 years old by the end of it.

The Cubs have two years of Arrieta left, so while they would love to extend him, there is no real rush on their side to do so: he'll be 32 by the time they're forced to make a decision on him, and by that point maybe he'll be looking for more in the five-year range, anyway. That, or they would have developed or acquired enough starting to let Arrieta walk and cash the checks of someone else. Arrieta, similarly, doesn't need to agree with whatever the Cubs offer him. He's the reigning National League Cy Young winner, has a comparatively fresh arm for a 30-year-old, and is in a position to even increase his future value during his remaining time with the Cubs.

This isn't the end of extension talks between the two sides, either. It's possible they find a balance in guaranteed years, or increase the average annual value to get Arrieta to back down on length, or find a way to balance team and vesting options so that both sides end up happy. Scott Boras is Arrieta's agent, and both he and Cubs' President Theo Epstein are creative and at the top of their field, so don't be surprised if something comes together within the next year or so.