Jake Arrieta today announced he plans to sit out the 2018 season to concentrate on growing an even better beard than what he’s previously sported. The Cy Young-winner Insisted the decision had nothing to do with the fact that he has yet to sign the major free agent deal he was hoping for.

“Sure, it would be great to sign some big multiyear contract,” said Arrieta, “but you know what is also great? My beard. So why not focus on making that even better?”

Arrieta’s agent, Scott Boras, immediately went into damage control, insisting that the free agent market for Arrieta and his more robust beard will be even better in 2019.

“The offers that have come in for Jake this year have been strong, but ever since he shaved his beard in the off-season people aren’t as intimidated by him,”  said Boras. “Giving Jake a full year to grow his beard will only increase the size of the offers we get for him in 2019.”