MESA, Ariz. -- Jake Arrieta is hopeful to remain a Cub beyond 2017 but knows how the business of baseball works. He's trying to keep his focus on getting ready for this season as he enters his free-agent year -- the first for a high-profile player from the defending world champions.
"Time flies quickly," Arrieta said Wednesday morning from Cubs camp. "It feels like only a few months ago that I was traded over here and starting my career as a Cub. I've had some incredible experiences with this organization. I owe a lot to this team, this organization, this ownership. I don't want to see that time come to an end, but unfortunately the business side shows its head every once in a while. I still think there is opportunity and chances we can have good conversations as far as an extension is concerned."
The Cubs say there has been no movement between the sides since the team and Arrieta agreed on a $15.6 million deal for 2017. In the past, Arrieta has said he's not necessarily interested in giving a hometown discount, though he didn't make any such declarations on Wednesday.
"There is an open dialogue there," he said. "I believe we will have talks. I don't think it's really my No.1 priority. I want to focus on my health and coming into camp and being well rested and in as good a shape as I possibly can."
Cubs management is keeping news of any conversations between them and Arrieta's agent, Scott Boras, close to the vest. One good thing right now is there is no deadline to stop talking. Some players would rather not negotiate in season, but Arrieta indicated he would be fine talking about it whenever he's asked, and general manager Jed Hoyer indicated there are no lines in the sand here. Both sides remain amicable and somewhat optimistic.
"Individual relationships are all really strong, and with that comes an open dialogue," Hoyer said.
Manager Joe Maddon has been down this road before with marquee players and is keeping an open mind.
"It could be a positive for him and for us," Maddon stated. "If you're in that year, you want to put your best foot forward to attract the best contract the next season."
"It feels like only a few months ago that I was traded over here and starting my career as a Cub. I've had some incredible experiences with this organization. ... I don't want to see that time come to an end, but unfortunately the business side shows its head every once in a while."Jake Arrieta
The bottom line for the Cubs' skipper is if Arrieta takes care of his business in 2017, he'll be rewarded handsomely wherever he pitches next season. So far he likes Arrieta's attitude.
"He was just all about winning," Maddon said after the two met earlier in the day. "That's where his mind is at right now. That's the appropriate way to go about it. He has the right mindset, go one game at a time. If you're healthy and good, the numbers are going to pop."
Arrieta added: "If it happens [in the spring], great. If not, I'll continue to move forward and focus on being as good as I can."
Arrieta is 40-14 over the last two seasons and won the Cy Young award in 2015.