Jake Arrieta turns 30 today, but he’s still got the physique of a finely-tuned 22-year-old. That … came out much more strangely than I’d intended. But I’m leaving it.
I guess I just meant to say: Happy Birthday to Jake Arrieta, who is really good at baseball.
- Trevor Cahill says that he’s not aware of the previously-rumored two-year offer from the Pirates that he turned down, but he did turn down offer(s) with a guarantee of a rotation spot (Sun-Times, CSN). In the end, Cahill says his comfort with the Cubs, and his belief that he could succeed with them, was the deciding factor, even if it means he winds up in the bullpen. And, truth be told, even if he’s in the pen all year, if he looks as good as he did late last season with the Cubs, he could easily parlay this season into a significant multi-year deal in free agency after the season, given his age (he just turned 28) and the deals relievers of that caliber were getting this past offseason (frequently three years, and nearly $10 million AAV). And if he keeps hitting 94/95mph all year like he was yesterday, he could be very, very good.
- Bruce Miles profiles three of the Cubs’ non-roster invitees, which makes for a really interesting read on Matt Murton, Stephen Fife, and Tim Federowicz. Separately, the section on Federowicz reminds me just how good he is as a back-up-back-up catcher, and how it’s possible his contract will be such that the Cubs can’t keep him at AAA Iowa past a certain date without him having the option to opt back into free agency (veterans on minor league deals often have the leverage to get such provisions built in). The 28-year-old has always been very good defensively, and has also crushed it offensively in the upper levels of the minors. Health issues derailed his 2015 season, but you do wonder if he’s a guy who could actually be a very good back-up (or more) in the big leagues for a long time (the bat sometimes comes around later for catchers). It would be nice if the Cubs could hang onto him in the event of a serious injury to Miguel Montero or David Ross, as I still doubt the Cubs want to have to rely on Kyle Schwarber to make regular starts this season behind the plate, and ditto Willson Contreras until he’s had some time at AAA Iowa. I know I’m being greedy about the Cubs’ redundancies and back-up plans, but I want them all.
- Speaking of the catchers:
— Willson Contreras (@WContreras40) March 6, 2016
- Hector Rondon could “next level” things this year (CSN). He’s so nasty. The Cubs have been fortunate so far that, even after multiple serious arm injuries derailed him with the Indians, he’s been completely healthy with the Cubs, which has allowed him to keep cranking things up – seemingly more and more each year – in the bullpen. Hopefully that continues, and he really does “next level” this year.
- A nice profile on Anthony Rizzo in the Tribune. Probably nothing earth-shattering in there, but I enjoyed the read.
- Miguel Montero is 5-5 in the Cactus League, though he’s not all that impressed, suggesting that he’s still a little off and wishes he could save the bloopers for the regular season (Tribune). Maybe some of them have been dinks and dunks – all have been to the opposite field – but he did hit a homer yesterday.
- Remember Dan Johnson? He actually showed up with the Cardinals last year, appearing in 12 games, of which his first – and literally the only game in which he added to the win probability – was against the Cubs, and it was the infamous Pedro-Strop-Jhonny-Peralta loss. Johnson had two hits and drove in two runs in that game, which the Cubs lost by one. So, you might remember him in that context. But if you’re thinking more broadly, you remember him as that guy who was heroic a couple times for the Rays with really dramatic homers. Now he’s back with the Rays … as a knuckleball pitcher.
- Pretty slick looking Cubs cap I just came across on Amazon, but then I noticed something strange:
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) March 6, 2016