Arrieta is due a big raise in 2016 after making $3.63 million last year; after winning 22 games in 2015, he could draw more than $10 million. The Cubs and Arrieta could still settle on a one-year or multi-year deal before going to an arbitration hearing that would take place next month. Under the current front office the Cubs have never had a hearing with a player.
The bigger question for Arrieta is whether there is momentum for a longer-term deal. That’s not likely right now as the Cubs have big money committed to Jon Lester and John Lackey, while Arrieta has two more seasons as Cubs property until free agency. He won't hit the same payday through arbitration that he would through free agency, so the Cubs are probably willing to wait it out for now. Arrieta may also want to wait considering agent Scott Boras has done well, historically, for his free-agent clients. Plus, the Cubs wouldn’t have much leverage since Arrieta is coming off a historic season – especially in the second half, when he produced the lowest post-All-Star-break ERA in the history of the game (0.75).
It's possible momentum toward a longer deal could come after the season starts, but it's anyone's guess if he ends up testing the market after the 2017 season. The sides did indicate at various times last year they would have a conversation this winter about Arrieta's future, but there wasn't much optimism for a long-term deal.
Most likely the sides will settle for a one-year deal for 2016 even before exchanging figures on Friday. If not, they can continue to negotiate up until the February hearing. For reference, in 2013, Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer earned about a $9 million raise, though it was his third time through the arbitration process. This is Arrieta’s second year of arbitration.
The other Cubs filing for arbitration were pitchers Justin Grimm, Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, Travis Wood and Adam Warren and outfielder Chris Coghlan. It would be a surprise if any actually went to a hearing.