Cubs

Bovada releases list of teams with best odds to sign Jake Arrieta, Mike Moustakas, others

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USA TODAY

Bovada releases list of teams with best odds to sign Jake Arrieta, Mike Moustakas, others

At this point, it's anyone's guess when the MLB's remaining top free agents will sign a contract for the 2018 season and beyond.

The MLB season is officially three weeks away, yet the likes of Jake Arrieta and Mike Moustakas, to name a few, remain unsigned. With the season fast approaching, Bovada is giving its best guess as to where the former All Stars will play in 2018.

According to Bovada, the Brewers have the best odds to sign Arrieta at 7/4, followed by the Nationals at 5/2, the Padres at 11/4, the Phillies at 9/2 and the Twins at 8/1.

Arrieta, 32, put together a stellar string of years with the Cubs in which he won the 2015 Cy Young Award and was named an All Star in 2016. He owns a 3.08 ERA in nine career postseason starts, all coming with the Cubs from 2015-2017.

Arrieta joining either the Brewers or Nationals would surely intensify the National League pennant race. The Brewers finished six games back of the Cubs in the NL Central in 2017, so Arrieta could theoretically help get them over the hump in 2018.

The Nationals have a stellar starting rotation as is, with the likes of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez. However, adding Arrieta and his postseason success would only help a Nationals team seeking its first postseason series win in franchise history.

Bovada gives the White Sox the best odds to sign Moustakas at 6/5, followed by the Royals at 8/5, the Yankees at 4/1 and the Brewers at 5/1.

Although Moustakas, 29, has recently been linked to the White Sox, such a move seems unlikely. The White Sox currently have Yolmer Sanchez and Matt Davidson on the roster to play third base, both of which experienced success in 2017.

Sanchez hit a respectable .267 in 141 games with the White Sox in 2017, while Davidson hit .220 with 26 home runs in 118 games.

Moustakas has spent his entire seven-year career with the Royals, winning the World Series in 2015. He would be a significant addition, as he hit .272 with 38 home runs and 85 RBIs in 148 games in 2017.

At the same time, the White Sox could be looking to play younger players and not dip into free agency until they are closer to contention. Of course, this might not be for a few more seasons, so Moustakas might have to look elsewhere for his new home.

For the full free agency odds, go to Bovada's official website. 

Update: After publication, Moustakas and the Royals agreed to a one-year contract with a mutual option for 2019.

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Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 31st homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 31st homer in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Sosa's 18th homer of June and 31st of the season came off the Tigers in the Cubs' brief 2-game Interleague series in Detroit. 

Sosa connected in the first inning off Tigers starter Seth Greisinger, going back-to-back with Mickey Morandini. 

The Cubs wound up getting out to a 5-0 start in the game but still lost 7-6 on a Gabe Alvarez single in the bottom of the 11th.

The aforementioned Morandini homer was only the 3rd of the season for the Cubs second baseman. He finished with 8 homers on the year and 224 total bases on 172 hits in what was a very good offensive season. Yet it paled in comparison to Sosa, who had nearly 200 more total bases (416) and a slugging percentage nearly 200 points above Morandini's (.647 to .471), a testament to how truly incredible Sosa's season was.

Fun fact: Tony Clark was the Tigers' cleanup hitter that day. Clark is now the head of the MLB Players Union.

Fun fact No. 2: Paul Bako was the Detroit catcher in the game. He later became the Cubs backup catcher in 2003 and 2004, when he posted a .611 OPS in 119 games over the two years.

Maddon gets funky with bullpen, calls catcher Chris Gimenez to mound

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USA TODAY

Maddon gets funky with bullpen, calls catcher Chris Gimenez to mound

The Cubs continued their recent struggles, suffering their third straight loss to the Cincinnati Reds. 

But the game was not without its fair share of drama. The matchup was a back-and-forth affair, up until the Reds blew the game wide-open in the bottom of the third inning. This included a grand slam by Reds pitcher Anthony DeSclafani, the first home run of his career.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon turned to the bullpen following Cincinnati's third inning explosion, and things did not get much better from there.

With the Cubs down six runs in the bottom of the eight inning, Maddon brought in catcher Chris Gimenez to pitch. 

This was not new territory for Gimenez, who despite being a catcher, now has 10 MLB pitching appearances to his name. 

Down six runs, Gimenez didn't have a lot to lose. But Reds first basemen Joey Votto hammered a fastball in the zone for his eighth homer of the year.

Gimenez had a career ERA of 8.00 before Saturday's appearance, and he certainly didn't do much to help lower that figure.

According to ESPN's Jesse Rogers: "Including one today, Cubs relievers have allowed 41.1 percent of inherited runners to score in June, sixth most in the NL." 

A tired bullpen is certainly cause for concern for the Cubs, who are locked into a battle in the NL Central with the Brewers and Cardinals. Maddon was surely hoping to keep his bullpen arms fresh with the move, seeing as the game was already out of reach. 

So yes, the game did end in a 11-2 win for the Reds. But with a grand-slam by a pitcher—on his first career HR no less—and four-seam fastballs from a catcher, Cubs baseball always keep things interesting.