Cubs

Cubs and Jake Arrieta reportedly have differing opinions on length of potential deal

1130_jake_arrieta.jpg
USA TODAY

Cubs and Jake Arrieta reportedly have differing opinions on length of potential deal

It seems the Cubs want to keep Jake Arrieta on the North Side — but maybe not for as long as the free-agent pitcher is hoping.

According to a report from FanRag's Jon Heyman, the Cubs met with Arrieta at the general manager meetings earlier this offseason. But, per Heyman, the two parties have differing ideas on how long a potential contract should be: Arrieta is said to want a lengthy six- or seven-year deal, while the Cubs would prefer to lock Arrieta up for a shorter period of time. Heyman added that the two sides probably haven't talked since.

None of that information comes as much of surprise, of course. Arrieta has been one of the National League's top pitcher over the past three seasons and is arguably the top arm on this winter's free-agent market. Guys fitting that description usually look to sign a long-term deal.

But one can certainly understand why the Cubs might be hesitating to give Arrieta that kind of contract. Arrieta, after all, will be 32 on Opening Day of the 2018 season and would be 38 in the final year of a hypothetical seven-year contract. Pitchers who retain elite status into their late 30s are few and far between.

And, as good as Arrieta's been over the past three seasons — helping the Cubs win the 2016 World Series and reach three consecutive NL Championship Series — his numbers took a bit of a downturn last season. He posted a 3.53 ERA with 163 strikeouts in 30 starts in 2017 after turning in a 3.10 ERA and 190 strikeouts in 31 starts in 2016 and a 1.77 ERA and 236 strikeouts in 33 starts during the 2015 season, when he won the NL Cy Young Award.

Still, all of those numbers are very good. The Cubs know what Arrieta can do and how important he's been to three straight playoff teams, and they have obvious needs in their starting rotation, with only Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks and Jose Quintana locked into Joe Maddon's starting five for 2018.

These are things that Theo Epstein's front office will be weighing throughout the offseason, whether revolving around talks with Arrieta, any other free-agent pitcher or in trade talks with other clubs.

For now, it appears the Cubs would like to have Arrieta back. But will the two sides resolve their differences and get a deal done? Or is there another team out there more willing to give Arrieta the kind of deal he wants? That obviously remains to be seen.

Yu Darvish suffering another setback puts his 2018 season in jeopardy

Yu Darvish suffering another setback puts his 2018 season in jeopardy

Yu have to be kidding me (Sorry, couldn't resist). 

The Cubs were expecting Sunday's rehab start to be the beginning to an end of what has been an extremely disappointing 2018 season for their $126 million man Yu Darvish. Darvish was scheduled to start Sunday for the Cubs single-A affiliate in South Bend, IN, but after just one inning Darvish was checked on by the trainers and eventually pulled before the 2nd inning started. 

According to Steve Greenberg, Darvish asked for an MRI on Monday which likely closes the door on him returning to the Cubs in 2018.

The frustrating thing about Darvish's rehab is that in his two rehab starts, the 31-year-old pitcher has had excellent stuff, touching 95 mph in Sunday afternoon's game before being pulled. 

At this point in the season, it seems unlikely Darvish will be able to return to the Cubs rotation for the regular season. And it would be incredibly risky to roll with Darvish in the playoffs, who even when healthy hasn't shown he's deserving of a postseason roster spot. The Cubs do have options at starter in the minors like Duane Underwood or James Norwood, and despite his shortcomings, Tyler Chatwood is an option out of necessity now.  

Drew Smyly, who looked like a possibility as a late-season addition, is still not quite ready to come back and be an effective rotation piece at the moment. And with Mike Montgomery heading to the disabled list earlier this week, the Cubs were hopeful Darvish would be healthy by the time rosters expand in September. 

Luckily, Jon Lester, Cole Hamels, and Kyle Hendricks have all looked stellar recently and hopefully can continue their success on the mound as the Cubs continue to fight past injuries to maintain their grasp on the NL Central. 

But Theo Epstein said himself last week that if Darvish didn't perform well during his rehab stint, that was essentially his 2018 season. Don't expect to see Darvish returning to the mound until 2019, Cubs fans. 

 

 

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 48th homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 48th 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 48th homer of the season came off of the St. Louis Cardinals on August 19, 1998, in a 6-8 loss.

With two-outs, Sosa sent a deep shot off of Kent Bottenfield.

The home run was even more special for Sosa, due to it coming against the Cardinals and Mark McGwire, his home run adversary for the year. 

In the game Sosa went 2-for-4 with two RBI, the exact same stat line McGwire finished with.