The Cubs slipped to 1-6 in the Cactus League on Tuesday with the 7-3 loss to the Dodgers. Kris Bryant and David Ross hit home runs. Bryant drove in two of the three runs and Kyle Hendricks outpitched Clayton Kershaw in the exhibition game. The Cubs will look to get back in the win column this afternoon behind Jake Arrieta in his first start of the spring.
Jake Arrieta and Theo Epstein addressed the report from Jon Heyman that the two sides had conversations about a mega extension.
Arrieta would like to stay with the Cubs long-term and has talked directly with Epstein about an extension. Arrieta wants to be involved and will not just leave the negotiations up to his agent, Scott Boras.
Arrieta is believed to be looking for a six- to seven-year extension. According to ESPN Chicago, a three- or four-year extension would only take him a year or two beyond free agency. According to Bob Nightengale, the Cubs are not willing to go more than five years and Arrieta wants at least seven years.
Bruce Levine reported that a six-year contract in the $130 million range was asked for in negotiations.
Arrieta explained to the beat writers Tuesday the extension has to be “something worth signing” and the front office knows the ballpark it needs to be in.
“There’s a small window you have as a professional athlete, so you want to try to capitalize on that. But financially, whether I signed an extension or not, we’re still going to be able to live a good life,” Arrieta said. “Money can only make you so happy. We’re extremely happy with where we’re at. I love my teammates. I love Chicago. So those are more important than the contract extension.”
Arrieta would prefer not to talk about his contract during the season.
Theo Epstein said the conversations with Arrieta are not ongoing. And according to the Sun-Times, the talks with Arrieta were “not expected by the team to result in an agreement.” The conversions were more “broad concepts than substantive details.”
“Jake’s priority is helping the team come together and prepare for the season,” Epstein said. “The last thing we would want is to create any distraction. There will be quiet moments out of the competitive spotlight in the future when it will make sense to talk again. It’s certainly not something that’s going on now or probably will as the season begins.”
Epstein said the relationship between Arrieta and the team “couldn’t be better” as far as he’s concerned. Epstein explained, “Sometimes negotiations are about empathy. Seeing things from the other party’s perspective and understanding things better.”
“I wouldn’t rule anything out or anything in, but we’re not hiding the ball. There are no active talks.”
Neither side has set a hard deadline to get an extension done.
“Obviously, Jake’s going to be a Cub for the next two seasons, at a minimum,” Epstein said. “We hope longer than that. That provides a lot of time to get something done.”
- Report from the Tribune
- Report from the Sun-Times
- Report from Comcast SportsNet
- Report from ESPN Chicago
Kyle Schwarber had two hits Tuesday off lefty Clayton Kershaw. While it was just Spring Training, it was a rather big step for the slugger.
Schwarber did not hit southpaws in the big leagues last season. Schwarber had only 56 at bats but managed eight hits and a .143/.213/.268 line with a double and three home runs for a .481 OPS.
In order to be an elite, everyday player in the big leagues, a lefty must be able to produce against same-handed pitching.
Schwarber followed the example set by Anthony Rizzo and has been working with assistant hitting coach, Eric Hinske. Rizzo credits Hinske for helping him learn how to hit left-handed pitching.
Kyle Schwarber said the two hits off Kershaw helped build confidence as he goes through the learning process.
Tommy La Stella
According to multiple reports Tuesday, infielder Tommy La Stella left Monday’s game after the first inning for precautionary reasons with soreness in his right calf. The injury was described as cramps in the calf and not a strain. ESPN Chicago reported if it would have been a regular season game La Stella would have played through the discomfort.
The Sun-Times reported La Stella is expected to return to the lineup in “the next day or two.”
The Cubs will be careful with La Stella and not rush him back to the lineup.
Tommy La Stella is officially listed as day-to-day.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Anthony Rizzo pegged Addison Russell to win an MVP award during an interview on 670 The Score.
• Ryan Williams posted his latest diary on ESPN Chicago … and he said it was awesome pitching in his first Cactus League game.
• Duane Underwood Jr. was slowed early in camp with allergies. Underwood Jr. has not appeared in a Cactus League game, but could soon. He told the Sun-Times he feels fine and has been getting his work in.
• The Cubs have the sixth highest projected Opening Day payroll in baseball according to FanGraphs.
• According to a report from Comcast SportsNet, Miguel Montero aims to combat slumps before they happen.
• Kris Negron hopes his versatility leads to a job with the Cubs according to a report from Carrie Muskat.
• Former Cubs’ lefty reliever Phil Coke signed a minor league contract with the Braves. Coke’s deal does not include an invite to Major League camp.
• Major League Baseball announced Tuesday the Braves and Marlins will play at Fort Bragg on July 3. ESPN will carry the game on Sunday Night Baseball. And the new facility that is being built will remain and converted to a softball field and multi-purpose facility for those who serve at Fort Bragg.
• The Cubs and White Sox meet for the first time in the Cactus League on Saturday. Mat Latos is scheduled to make the start for the Southsiders.
• Red Sox top prospect Michael Kopech fractured his hand after an altercation with a teammate, Rob Bradford reported.
• Jim Bowden posted four moves he’d like to see before Opening Day … and one involves the Red Sox acquiring Andrew Cashner from the Padres.
• The Cubs had a competitive offer on the table for OF Rafael Ortega but would not commit to placing him on the 40-man roster. Ortega chose the Angels instead according to a report from the Los Angeles Times.
This Day in Cubstory
2005 – Current and former big league players as well as executives were issued subpoenas to appear on March 17 by the House Committee on Government Reform. The 11 players invited to the congressional hearing on steroid use included Sandy Alderson, Jose Canseco, Donald Fehr, Jason Giambi, Rob Manfred, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Curt Schilling, Sammy Sosa, Frank Thomas and Kevin Towers.
1996 – Cubs signed free agent Kent Bottenfield
1994 – Cubs signed free agent Craig Worthington
1987 – Cubs signed free agent Andre Dawson. Dawson signed a now famous blank contract to play for the Cubs. The Cubs ended up paying ‘The Hawk’ $500,000 for the season and Dawson won the NL Most Valuable Player of the Year award.
1981 – Clay Rapada, born
1979 – Koyie Hill, born
1965 – Benito Santiago, born
1963 – Terry Mulholland, born
1959 – Cubs traded Chuck Tanner to the Red Sox for Bob Smith
1951 – Cubs signed free agent Solly Drake
1918 – Dale Alderson, born
1906 – Cubs traded Charles Miller and Louis Schaub to Wheeling (Central League) for Bull Smith
1900 – The Orphans purchased Bert Cunningham from the Pirates