Olney’s top 10 starting pitchers: Clayton Kershaw, Jake Arrieta, Zack Greinke, Madison Bumgarner, Jacob deGrom, David Price, Dallas Keuchel, Max Scherzer, Gerrit Cole and Matt Harvey
Some members of the media, according to Olney, view Jake Arrieta as a “one-hit wonder.” As Olney pointed out, that is not the case.
The National League Cy Young Award winner followed up his breakout season of 2014 in which he was 10-5 in 25 starts with a 2.53 ERA and 0.98 WHIP with a 22-6 mark in 33 starts with a 1.77 ERA and 0.86 WHIP. And Arrieta put together the best second half of any pitcher in big league history that included a no-hitter.
Since he put on a Cubs’ uniform, Jake Arrieta is 36-13 with a 2.26 ERA and 0.94 WHIP in 67 starts. Arrieta has allowed 120 runs, 110 earned, on 298 hits with 113 walks and 440 strikeouts in 437 1/3 innings.
David Kaplan reported that the Cubs are not David Price’s first choice but that he would prefer to stay in Toronto and sign with the Blue Jays. The Cubs have been considered the favorites for Price, but that is not the case according to Kaplan.
Jim Bowden reported Monday afternoon that one of his sources “inside the Blue Jays front office” told him Toronto is “not going to be playing on the top free agent pitchers.” Bowden indicated the Cubs are concentrating on Jordan Zimmermann right now. But the Cubs are still in on Price.
Rob Bradford reported those he’s talked to in the Blue Jays organization “don’t think it’s in the cards” for Price to re-sign with Toronto.
And Tom Verducci believes David Price will sign with the Red Sox. Verducci said Monday “Dave Dombrowski is all in” on signing Price.
Even David Price heard all of the noise Monday and the conflicting reports. Price said he’s decided to play in Japan.
Really have to love the Hot Stove Season …
Second or Third Tier Starting Pitchers
The Cubs are exploring every option to acquire starting pitching. From free agent signings to trades, the front office is looking for the best way possible to add starters to the roster.
The Cubs have been linked to several of the second or third tier starting pitchers including Jeff Samardzija, John Lackey and Wei-Yin Chen.
According to a report from Jon Paul Morosi, “multiple team executives in search of pitching expect at least one second- or third-tier free agent starter to sign before David Price or Zack Greinke agree to their market-setting deals.” Morosi reported LHP Wei-Yin Chen, RHP Yovani Gallardo, RHP Mike Leake and RHP Jeff Samardzija as candidates to sign earlier than most expected earlier in the off-season.
Morosi also explained Scott Boras “is prepared to make the case that Chen deserves well north of the $20.625 million average annual value Rick Porcello received” when he signed his extension with the Red Sox. Morosi thinks “many agents” will use Porcello’s contract as the “floor in their negotiations with clubs.”
The Red Sox surprised many within the game when they inked Porcello to the four-year, $82.5 million extension last April. When Boras or other agents use the Porcello contract as a comp, the front offices interested in those pitchers must point out how well that contract worked out for Boston this past season.
Kaplan’s Cubs Rumors
David Kaplan shared quite a bit of information he’s learned about the Cubs’ plans on Monday afternoon.
• According to Kaplan, the Cubs are talking to John Lackey. The Cubs like Lackey on a two-year contract but it may take a three-year deal to sign him.
• The Cubs are talking to teams about Miguel Montero. The Cubs would like to move Montero to get better defensively behind the plate.
• There is a ton of interest in Jeff Samardzija from other teams. Samardzija is interested in coming back to the Cubs but he will have plenty of other offers.
• The Cubs are interested in trading for Carlos Carrasco, Shelby Miller and Julio Teheran. The Cubs are doing background work on all three pitchers. The Indians and Braves are interested in Jorge Soler and Javier Baez.
• The Cubs are not opposed to moving Starlin Castro and Javier Baez in the same deal.
• The Cubs have discussed Jason Heyward, but on a five-year contract, nothing longer than a five-year deal and they feel he can play center field.
It does not appear that Tommy Hunter is in the Cubs’ plans moving forward. Hunter was acquired from the Orioles for Junior Lake at the deadline. Hunter struggled after a rather impressive Cubs’ debut and was not on any of the three rounds of playoff rosters.
In 19 appearances for the Cubs, Hunter was 2-0 with a 5.74 ERA and 1.46 WHIP.
According to Hardball Talk, Hunter is drawing interest from the Tigers, Padres and Indians. There have also been rumblings that he could return to the Orioles. Hunter should be able to help a team after not being able to catch on with the Cubs over the last two months of the season.
News, Notes and Rumors
• According to a report from Carrie Muskat, Corey Black is determined to succeed as a reliever. Black admitted he struggled with the move to the pen and a ninth inning home run in early July “got in his head a little bit” and he was “afraid to throw anywhere near the zone.”
• Ken Rosenthal reported don’t believe what you hear about the Marlins’ Jose Fernandez.
• The Dodgers are looking to upgrade their bullpen and have checked in on Aroldis Chapman according to Jon Heyman. Darren O’Day is also on the Dodgers’ list. Heyman explained the Nationals, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays and Astros “are among the teams that have shown the most interest in Chapman in recent months.” As for O’Day, the Dodgers, Nationals and Braves “are strongly in the mix” for him.
• The Nationals are trying to move both Jonathan Papelbon and Drew Storen. And it’s going to take Mike Rizzo eating some of the $11 million owed to Papelbon in order to trade him according to a report from Jayson Stark. Papelbon still has control of where he goes with a partial no-trade clause and he recently updated the list.
• According to Mike DiGiovanna, even though the Angels would prefer a middle-of-the-order bat in left field, the Halos could matchup with the Yankees on a trade for Brett Gardner. The Angels are looking for a leadoff hitter and have the starting pitching the Yankees would like in return for Gardner.
• Jon Paul Morosi reported “the Angels aren’t ruling out a pursuit of free agent Jason Heyward” and if they sign Heyward, Kole Calhoun would move from right to left field. Heyward in right, Mike Trout in center and Calhoun in left would be one of the best defensive outfields in the game.
• The Cubs have been linked to OF Gerardo Parra. According to Jerry Crasnick, the Orioles have “some interest” in bringing back Parra, but only for a maximum of two years.
And last, but not least, David Ross tweeted his congratulations to Dave Roberts for landing the Dodgers’ job. “Congrats to Dave Roberts on being Dodgers new manager. He taught me to be a professional on and off the field! True leader and a great man!”
This Day In Cubstory
2003 – Twins selected Augie Ojeda off waivers from the Cubs
1993 – Jeimer Candelario, born
1993 – Cubs signed free agent Glenallen Hill
1993 – Cubs acquired Willie Banks from the Twins for Dave Steven and Matt Walbeck
1992 – Cubs signed free agent Eddie Zambrano
1968 – Dave Hansen, born
1948 – Hack Wilson passed away at the age of 48 in Baltimore without a penny to his name. Wilson’s 56 home runs in 1930 was a National League record until 1998 and the 191 RBI he collected in 1930 remain an All-Time record that many feel will never be broken. National League President Ford Frick paid $350 for his funeral services, that included the cost of a coffin.