As expected, pitchers Jake Arrieta and Wade Davis reject qualifying offers from the Cubs

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta works against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first inning during Game 4 of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)

CHICAGO – Now things officially get really interesting for the Cubs’ two biggest free agents this offseason. Yet most people counted on this option happening right from the start.

As expected, Cubs pitchers Jake Arrieta and Wade Davis rejected their qualifying offers to be come free agents. The duo are apart of nine players in Major League Baseball who rejected their possible one-year, $17.4 million contracts in order to test the waters of free agency.

Should the Cubs not re-sign either pitcher and they go somewhere else, the Cubs would earn a compensatory pick or picks in the 2018 draft since they made a qualifying offers on the players. Such an exchange is written into the current MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Arrieta is expected to command plenty of attention after the success he’s enjoyed since the middle of the 2015 season. A Cy Young winner that season, the pitcher helped the Cubs to three-straight playoff appearance along with a World Championship in 2016. His agent, Scott Boras, was already talking highly of Arrieta and his value on the free agent market during the General Manager’s meeting this week.

“Jake Arrieta is a big squirrel with a lot of nuts in his tree,” said Boras to reporters when discussing the pitcher while also referring to the Cubs’ success as an “Economic Hurricane” for Chicago.

Following a season in which he converted 32-of-33 saves, Davis is expected to garner a lot of attention as well.

A potential Cubs’ target in free agency, Tampa Bay pitcher Alex Cobb, also rejected his qualifying offer from the Rays. A member of Joe Maddon’s pitching staff for three years in Tampa while also working with new Cubs’ pitching coach Jim Hickey, Cobb has a career record of 48-35 with a 3.50 ERA.