ORLANDO, Fla. -- Jacob Arrieta's regular-season record helped him become one of the premier starters in baseball over the past three seasons, and his postseason success could also be appealing to clubs interested in the right-hander.That was among the points made by Arrieta's agent, Scott Boras, in an extended session
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Jacob Arrieta's regular-season record helped him become one of the premier starters in baseball over the past three seasons, and his postseason success could also be appealing to clubs interested in the right-hander.
That was among the points made by Arrieta's agent, Scott Boras, in an extended session with a group of reporters at the annual General Manager meetings. Boras also addressed the status of first baseman Eric Hosmer and outfielder J.D. Martinez, two other high-profile free agents he represents.
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"There are those defined group of stellar pitchers, Cy Young types, that have either won the award or had voting for two or three years; they are really, really good at performing at high levels during the season," Boras said of Arrieta. "That's a great value to a franchise. Then there's the ultimate cherry on top of those pitchers that have the ability to perform in the postseason where they distinguish themselves from all others, and that's winning elimination games.
"You look at [Justin] Verlander, [Madison] Bumgarner and Arrieta, they have separated themselves from the pack. They've won the big games, they've won the World Series games. When owners are looking for not only great performance to elevate them into the postseason, the theme of it is that those big games, those pivotal games where you have leads and you know how to keep them. Your team is winning those games. That's where the cream separates from the milk."
Arrieta helped the Cubs to a win over the Indians in Game 6 of the 2016 World Series, holding the Indians to two runs over 5 2/3 innings as Chicago forced a decisive Game 7. He won another elimination game last month, holding the Dodgers to one run over 6 2/3 innings in Game 4 after Los Angeles had taken a 3-0 lead over the Cubs in the National League Championship Series.
In his career, Arrieta is 5-3 with a 3.08 ERA in nine postseason starts, all coming in the past three years with the Cubs. He's 54-24 with a 2.71 ERA in the regular season during that same span, winning the 2015 NL Cy Young Award and making his first All-Star team in 2016.
Boras suggested that the Cubs could still be the landing spot for Arrieta, who is one of the top two starters on the free-agent market, along with Yu Darvish.
"I don't think there's any general manager, manager or anyone that doesn't want a guy who is going to win World Series games for you and elimination games," Boras said. "I go back to Cleveland; if Jake Arrieta doesn't win Game 6, they don't win. There are a lot of pitchers who do not win Games 6 or 7, and their teams lose and they don't become world champions. The Cubs are world champions and they have a chance to complete that, and other organizations are seeking that. When you have a guy like that out there, I don't know why you would not want him and want him long-term. He brings a dimension to you that few teams have."
Speaking of Hosmer, Boras said the first baseman, who turned 28 in October, has a "very dynamic market" as teams look to bolster their rosters in an attempt to get to the postseason -- or as Boras now refers to it, "Playoffville."
"When a guy has just finished his 27-year-old season, and you've won a Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, you have a [World Series] ring on your finger, you've been to the World Series twice, you led the WBC team to the championship, you're the All-Star MVP -- who in their right mind does that at 27 years of age?" Boras said. "And you're a leader and you have all these things, for any franchise, whether you're a 'now' team, you're a 'two-year' team or you're a 'three-year' team, as far as when you hope to arrive to Playoffville, he's 'Playoffville Federal Express.' He can be overnight delivery -- one-day, two-day, three-year, whatever. He fits every franchise."
Martinez, who hit 45 home runs with a .690 slugging percentage in a breakout season with the Tigers and D-backs, is considered the top slugger available in free agency this offseason.
"Certainly he's been a part of a lot of our discussions the last three days," Boras said. "I have continued meetings after here with ownership. As you would expect, there's a wide need for a middle-of-the-order slugger. It's going to be a very rich free-agent process for him because the interest level is so high."
Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter, originally joined MLB.com as a reporter in 2001.