The ace of the Chicago Cubs took a Cy Young Award from Zack Greinke. If Jake Arrieta has his way, the Cubs would take Greinke from the Dodgers.
Arrieta edged Greinke for the National League Cy Young Award, with Dodgers anchor Clayton Kershaw a distant third in voting among baseball writers, which was announced Wednesday. Greinke is a free agent, and Arrieta said any team would be lucky to have him.
"I think any team that doesn't at least make a phone call would be foolish," Arrieta said.
Greinke would be a solid fit with the Cubs and their blossoming young core of offensive talent. The Cubs could dream of a rotation headed by Arrieta, Greinke and Jon Lester.
Arrieta said he would be willing to help the Cubs recruit Greinke.
"I would assume a phone call might be made, at least," Arrieta said. "We'd love to have him."
The Dodgers would like to retain Greinke, but not at any cost. Their current rotation is headed by Kershaw, Brett Anderson and Alex Wood.
Greinke delivered consistency and excellence for the Dodgers last season. He went 19-3 with a 1.66 earned-run average, the lowest since Greg Maddux posted a 1.63 ERA in 1995. He led the league in winning percentage and walks plus hits per innings pitched (WHIP). He pitched at least six innings in each of his 32 starts, allowing no more than one run in 21 of them.
"There were times I would sit back and be like, wow, it's incredible what he's doing," Arrieta said.
Arrieta got 17 of 30 first-place votes and 169 points overall. Greinke got 10 first-place votes and 147 points, with Kershaw getting the remaining three first-place votes and 101 points.
Arrieta went 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA. He led the league in victories, and opponents batted a league-low .184 off him.
He won the Cy Young with a brilliant second-half campaign, including a no-hitter Aug. 30 at Dodger Stadium. In his last 17 starts, he gave up as many home runs as he hit — two. His ERA after the All-Star break was a record 0.75.
"I was locked in — my timing, my tempo, my delivery," he said. "It was as close to perfect as I feel like I could possibly have been."
Most valuable players in each league will be announced Thursday. So far, the Cubs have swept the NL awards for rookie (Kris Bryant), manager (Joe Maddon) and Cy Young.
Arrieta spoke on a conference call Wednesday and participated in the MLB Network program on which the award was announced. Greinke did not appear on the program, but Kershaw did and said would have voted for Greinke.
He said Arrieta and Greinke both were "unbelievable" this year but said he would give the edge to the consistency Greinke delivered "day in and day out."
Said Kershaw: "You almost took it for granted what he was able to do."
Kershaw went 16-7 with a 2.13 ERA, leading the league in innings pitched and becoming the first pitcher in 13 years to strike out 300 batters in a season. Kershaw is also the first pitcher in major league history with 300 strikeouts and an ERA so low not to win the Cy Young Award, according to ESPN research.
Kershaw, a three-time winner, has finished among the top three in voting for five consecutive seasons. That is a feat never accomplished by Roger Clemens, who won a record seven Cy Young Awards.