Baltimore Orioles: Could Jake Arrieta return?

The Baltimore Orioles are worrying about 2017 right now, as well they should be. However that doesn’t mean that people like me can’t look forward beyond that. Specifically, could the Birds make a run at bringing Jake Arrieta back after this season?

I don’t need to remind fans that the Orioles drafted Arrieta, brought him through their system, and to the big leagues. He saw mixed results, however at the end of the day he was probably mismanaged by the organization. It seemed that he was going up and down to and from Norfolk almost every week for a time.

He was traded to the Chicago Cubs in the middle of the 2013 season, after going about as far as he could have gone with the Orioles. At the time, I along with most other anaysts and most Orioles fans thought it was a good move – both for Arrieta and for the organization. Since leaving the Orioles however, he’s posted a 2.52 ERA, and a .720 win percentage. And of course he has a World Series title.

It’s almost human nature to play the revisionist history game, although I try not to do it. Many people say that it’s a knock on the entire Orioles organization that they let Arrieta go. Now I’ll agree on the part about how he was sent up and down several times, but for the most part that was pre-Showalter/Duquette. However as I said above, Arrieta had gone about as far as he was going to go with the Orioles. It’s tough to retroactively say it was a mistake to trade him.

Nevertheless, Arrieta will be a free agent after this coming season. So…might the Orioles be interested in getting him back? The answer to that is that they’d better be interested in getting him back…if they care about their success in 2018 and beyond, that is. But it’s obviously not that easy.

First off, he’s represented by superagent Scott Boras, and we know what that means. He’s not going to come cheap. However there are also some benefits to Boras’ representation in the Orioles’ case. Chicago is obviously going to try to re-sign him before his contract expires, and in fact they’re the only team that can talk to him right now. But as we know, unless it’s an offer that can’t be refused (translated: a gross overpayent) Boras always wants his clients hitting the open market.

Point here being that the Orioles (and everyone else) in theory would have a shot at getting him because he won’t re-sign in Chicago without hitting the open market. Whether they can afford him is another story. Now the good news is that Boras has quite a few clients already on the Orioles. So the relationship isn’t as poor as it may have been as recently as ten years ago.

I’m not suggesting that it’s realistic for Orioles fans to think that Arrieta will end up back in Baltimore. I’m just saying that it’s something the Orioles should consider, and hopefully something to which Jake Arrieta would be open as well if the Birds made the best offer.


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