As expected it was a busy start to the week for the Cubs on and off the field. The Cubs trimmed the spring roster before the exhibition game with the Padres. Jake Arrieta had a good outing before the game got out of hand.
MLBPA executive director Tony Clark was in Cubs’ camp Monday to talk to the players as part of his annual tour through Arizona and Florida. Clark was asked about the service time grievance Kris Bryant filed early last season.
Tony Clark said, “We don’t talk about grievances. I won’t even acknowledge if there is one or not.”
According to the Sun-Times, Clark “did not rule out seeking credit for the 12 days of service time Bryant was denied at the start of last season as part of discussions to reform service-time rules and practices during the upcoming CBA talks.”
“Meaning, a remedy could include finding those days and giving those days back and if so, how does that affect the system? It’s a challenging issue. It doesn’t have a clear answer.”
If Bryant receives credit for those days, he would become a free agent following the 2020 season instead of after the 2021 season.
A Major League season, or championship season, is defined as 172 days. Bryant accumulated 171 days of service time last season, one day short of a full season or him becoming a free agent in six years and not seven.
The Sun-Times reported that Kris Bryant “shied away from offering an expansive opinion.” Bryant thinks it would be great “if that happens” but said he doesn’t “really know how that stuff works.”
Bryant told the beat writers he’s glad that he is “not the center of attention” this spring and that he’s “just another guy in the clubhouse.”
The Cubs have maintained they followed the rules and only called up Kris Bryant when they did due to injuries to players on the 25-man roster, mainly third baseman Mike Olt. Stay tuned …
Jake Arrieta made his second spring start Monday. After completing four innings and allowing one run on two hits and two walks with five strikeouts, Arrieta said he felt great. Arrieta should have had another scoreless outing, but Jorge Soler had issues in left field.
For those that needed a reminder, pitchers work on things in Spring Training because the games do not count. Arrieta admitted he intentionally unintentionally issued a four-pitch walk to Derek Norris leading off the second inning.
Arrieta retired all six batters with four strikeouts in his first start. And set the Padres down in order with a pair of strikeouts in the first inning of Monday’s game. Arrieta said he needed to work out of the stretch with men on base. Arrieta also benefited by Jemile Weeks leading off the third inning with a single. Arrieta was happy with the work he was able to do with his throws to first base and varying his times to the plate.
Arrieta’s next outing will be in a minor league game Saturday and not in a Cactus League game. The Cubs will be able to control his outing and extend innings if he needs more work. Arrieta is looking to build his pitch count to 15 to 17 pitches per inning. Over his next two games, the Cubs are looking for him to build his total pitch count to around 90 according to a report from Bruce Levine. Arrieta will be backed off for his last spring start to 60 to 70 pitches.
Jake Arrieta told the beat writers he’s in better shape than ever and he is “ready for another 250 innings.”
Dexter Fowler explained to Peter Gammons what happened with the Orioles.
“We were never really close. They wanted me to pay them what they said the draft choice I was costing them was valued at. They wanted me to pay them for the pick. So we said, OK, then give me an opt-out after one year, and they said that’s something they won’t do.”
The Cubs re-signed Fowler for less than the qualifying offer he rejected in November. Fowler signed a one-year contract worth a guaranteed $13 million. The deal calls for Fowler to be paid $8 million this season. The contract includes a $9 million mutual option for next year (2017) with a $5 million buyout.
The current qualifying offer system will be a big part of the negotiations for the new CBA.
Shane Victorino was expected to return to the lineup Monday and was in the first one Joe Maddon posted. Due to the roster cuts, Maddon actually had three lineups with three different DHs.
Victorino was sidelined last week with a sore calf and was unable to play again Monday.
Multiple reports indicated Victorino should be in Tuesday’s lineup in Peoria.
According to the Sun-Times, Victorino is the leading candidate for the last spot on the Cubs’ Opening Day roster.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Anthony Rizzo’s intangibles impress Joe Maddon the most according to a report from Carrie Muskat.
• Comcast SportsNet asked can the Cubs recreate their clubhouse chemistry from last year.
• The Cubs had 15,318 on hand Monday at Sloan Park to watch the team’s Cactus League game against the Padres. The Cubs became the first team to surpass the 100,000 mark in attendance this spring according to the Tribune. The Cubs have a Major League best home attendance of 102,967.
• Comcast SportsNet explained how the Cubs plan to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump for young players this season. Peter Gammons reported that everyone he talked to around the Cubs believes Addison Russell is poised for a breakout season.
• Received requests to post updates on Starlin Castro … Castro has played in seven games and is 8-for-19 with two doubles, a walk and three strikeouts (.421/.450/.526) for a .976 OPS.
• Speaking of former Cubs … Daniel Bard appears to be back on track. Bard is in camp with the Pirates this spring after signing a minor league contract in the off-season. According to Rob Bradford, Bard is healthy and feels he is beyond the thoracic outlet syndrome that started impacting his career in 2011. Bard said he had a lot of good days with the Cubs last year and some frustrating days, too. Bard picked up the spring save Monday against the Red Sox. Bard hit 95 mph on the radar gun Monday facing his old team. Bard has thrown strikes and has retired all five batters he’s faced this spring.
• Ken Rosenthal reported Monday the Rangers remain interested in Jonathan Lucroy. The two teams have not talked lately. The Astros and Athletics have also expressed interest in Lucroy.
• According to a report from Hardball Talk citing FanGraphs as its source, pre-arb players make up 38 percent of MLB player pool, but take only 7.2 percent of total salaries.
This Day in Cubstory
2012 – Cubs sent Aaron Kurcz to the Red Sox as the second player included in the compensation for Theo Epstein leaving Boston with one year remaining on his contract. Chris Carpenter was dealt to Boston Feb. 21, 2012 for a PTBNL. The deal would be completed until March 29 when Jair Bogaerts was sent to the Cubs as the PTBNL.
2006 – Cubs granted Bryan Corey free agency
2002 – Cubs traded Michael Tucker to the Royals for Shawn Sonnier
1989 – Ryan Dent, born
1982 – Cubs released Mike Tyson
1980 – Freddie Bynum, born
1979 – Kevin Youkilis, born
1977 – Athletics purchased Jerry Tabb from the Cubs
1977 – Cubs acquired Gaylen Pitts from the Athletics for Jim Tyrone
1965 – Cubs signed free agent Harry Bright
1947 – Cubs signed free agent Bill Lee
1946 – Bobby Bonds, born
1938 – Bob Locker, born
1933 – Dick Scott, born
1925 – Rabbit Maranville broke his leg sliding in an exhibition game in Los Angeles. Maranville returned to the Cubs lineup on May 24.
1870 – Doc Casey, born
1868 – Roscoe Coughlin, born