According to reports, Arrieta, 31, was on the radar of at least six teams, but ESPN reported Thursday the Cubs are making a renewed push to bring Arrieta back.
Arrieta's agent, Scott Boras, is looking for a contract that puts the right-handed ace among the highest-paid players in baseball: six or seven years, $200 million.
Arrieta went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA in 30 starts last season, when he made $15.6 million with the Cubs. In five years in Chicago, he posted a 68-31 record with a 19.9 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) value.
The Cardinals reportedly pursued multiple starters via trade, including Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Chris Archer.