Arrieta, Davis receive qualifying offers

Arrieta, Davis receive qualifying offers

CHICAGO -- The Cubs have made it no secret they want to keep both Jake Arrieta and Wade Davis, and on Monday, they made qualifying offers to both free-agent pitchers.

The Cubs had until 4 p.m. CT to make a qualifying offer to their free agents. By doing so, they would be assured of a compensation pick in the 2018 Draft if either player rejects the offer and signs with another team.

The qualifying offer this year is $17.4 million. Arrieta made $15.637 million in 2017; Davis $10 million.

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"We'd love to have Wade Davis back. Same with Jake," Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said after the season ended. "They're two quality pitchers, guys who are elite at what they do and have tremendous track records. We all know it's more complicated than that. Wanting doesn't mean having. When it comes to free agency and starting to talk about prospective free agents, I always stop and recognize how hard it is to get to free agency."

Davis' two-inning save

Free agents who receive a qualifying offer have 10 days to accept or reject it, and they can still negotiate with their original team as well as others during that period.

The Cubs' other free agents include John Lackey, Brian Duensing, Jon Jay, Koji Uehara, Alex Avila and Rene Rivera, who are now free to negotiate with any team.

Under the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement, if a team made a qualifying offer to a player and he signed elsewhere, the team would get a supplemental first-round Draft pick. That has changed, and compensation is now based on revenue and market size. However, if Arrieta and Davis sign elsewhere, the Cubs' compensatory picks will come after the Competitive Balance Round B in the 2018 Draft.

Arrieta, who turns 32 in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA. He totaled 168 1/3 innings, missing time because of a hamstring injury. In his first season with the Cubs, Davis, 32, finished 32-for-33 in save opportunities with a 2.30 ERA, appearing in 59 games.

Arrieta's impressive start

If Arrieta and Lackey, who has yet to announce whether he will return for a 16th season, both depart, that leaves the Cubs with two huge question marks in the rotation.

"The risk of Jake and John to free agency means there's the potential for some real work to be done in the starting rotation," Epstein said. "That will be a priority for us, absolutely."

Davis was the Cubs' third closer in the last three seasons, signing a one-year deal for the 2017 season to be reunited with manager Joe Maddon.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.