One Cub on Jake Arrieta's ongoing joblessness: 'I don't think anybody knows what to make of it'


One Cub on Jake Arrieta's ongoing joblessness: 'I don't think anybody knows what to make of it'

MESA, Ariz. — Jake Arrieta still doesn't have a job.

While that's extremely unusual with spring training already underway, it's the reality of this ridiculously inactive offseason. The guy who the National League Cy Young Award in 2015 and who helped the Cubs to three consecutive NL Championship Series and that curse-smashing World Series win in 2016 is still waiting to suit up. Meanwhile, his former team moved on in dramatic fashion earlier this week, signing Yu Darvish to a six-year contract.

But Arrieta's name isn't forbidden in the Cubs' clubhouse or anything, and one of his friends and former teammates was asked about what the heck is going on.

“It’s strange. I don’t think anybody knows what to make of it, it’s kind of just the way the market has gone this offseason and that’s what it is," infielder Tommy La Stella said Friday. "He’ll land somewhere, obviously, and it’ll be the right fit because that’s just kind of the way these things go.

"He’s a great competitor and a great player, so it’s going to be tough to imagine him falling into a situation that doesn’t line up.”

Arrieta should have been a huge splash this winter for a team needing an upgrade in the starting rotation, and he still will be whenever he signs. But when that signing comes is anyone's guess right now. The game of chicken between baseball's teams and free agents has been broken at times throughout this offseason — most notably by the Cubs with Darvish, the Milwaukee Brewers with outfielder Lorenzo Cain and the Philadelphia Phillies with slugger Carlos Santana — but Arrieta and a host of other big names remain unsigned.

Of course Arrieta will always be linked to Darvish, the guy the Cubs went with instead of bringing back one of their aces from three straight playoff runs. Until the games start counting, there will be a debate over whether the Cubs' front office made the right decision.

“I don’t think there’s any miscalculation on their end, to be honest," La Stella said. "They’re very calculated with everything that they do. They weigh the pros and cons of everything. Any time you’re going to miss out on anything, obviously you stand to gain somewhere else. So I think that’s what the situation was.”

It's possible Arrieta could land elsewhere in the NL Central, as the Brewers have been linked to him throughout the offseason as they search for a top-of-the-line starting pitcher to better compete with the Cubs for the division crown.

Seeing his former team often throughout the next few seasons would probably fire him up. But wherever Arrieta lands, this is a famously focused guy who worked like crazy to not just get in incredible shape but to go from a trade piece in the Scott Feldman deal to the most dominant pitcher in the game for a spell.

“He’s never lacking in motivation. He always goes out there and pitches with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder," La Stella said. "I think that’s what makes him so good. I’m sure he’ll take a little bit from it.”

Cubs Talk Podcast: Jed Hoyer breaks down Cubs renovated pitching staff


Cubs Talk Podcast: Jed Hoyer breaks down Cubs renovated pitching staff

Between more power in the rotation and more strike-throwing in the bullpen, the Cubs were decisive in how they wanted to remake their pitching staff entering the 2018 season.

GM Jed Hoyer sits down with David Kaplan to explain the thought process of the front office over the winter.

Take a listen here or in the embedded player below. 

Where does the Cubs lineup rank in MLB?


Where does the Cubs lineup rank in MLB?

It's that time of the year — a week out from Opening Day where all the predictions and rankings come through.

The latest coming through the baseball world is's Anthony Castrovince creating a list of the Top 10 lineups in baseball in 2018.

The Cubs come up lower than I expected — sitting sixth.

Here are Castrovince's rankings:

1. Houston Astros
2. New York Yankees
3. Washington Nationals
4. Boston Red Sox
5. Cleveland Indians
6. Chicago Cubs
7. Los Angeles Dodgers
8. Minnesota Twins
9. St. Louis Cardinals
10. Oakland A's

We broke down our own rankings of the Top 10 lineups in Major League Baseball:

Here's how I would rank the top lineups:

1. Houston Astros
2. Washington Nationals
3. Chicago Cubs
4. New York Yankees
5. Cleveland Indians
6. Boston Red Sox
7. Arizona Diamondbacks
8. Milwaukee Brewers
9. St. Louis Cardinals
10. Minnesota Twins

The Astros should be atop everybody's list.

The Nationals may actually be an underrated powerhouse offense, even with Daniel Murphy currently injured. Once he returns, you're looking at probably the best 1-6 of any lineup in baseball with Adam Eaton and Trea Turner (two premier leadoff-type hitters) setting the table for Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon and Murphy (three MVP candidates) and Ryan Zimmerman cleaning things up.

The Cubs may not have the sheer strength and power of the Yankees, but the Chicago lineup is deeper and more well-rounded. Regardless of who leads off and who plays on a given day, this Cubs team will batter opposing pitchers on a nightly basis and feature what very well could be three MVP candidates — Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras.

The Yankees would see a boost here if Brett Gardner shows no signs of aging at 34 and Greg Bird finally stays healthy.

The Indians are stacked, but don't quite boast as much depth 1-9 as the other lineups ahead of them with Tyler Naquin, Roberto Perez and Bradley Zimmer projected to make up the bottom-third of the order.

The Red Sox feature a dynamic young core despite a lineup that is coming off something of a down 2017 campaing. Adding J.D. Martinez to the mix is an incredible boost, as is a full season of phenom Rafael Devers.

The Diamondbacks have Paul Goldschmidt and a few question marks — including how the new humidor will affect the way the ball jumps in the dry Arizona heat. 

With new additions like Lorenzo Cain and former Marlins outfielders Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna, the Cubs' main division rivals (Brewers, Cardinals) see a jump in lineup rankings.

The Dodgers are noticably absent given the injury to Justin Turner. Without him anchoring the order for the first month or so, this lineup absolutely needs Chris Taylor to turn in a repeat performance after a breakout 2017.