The Rundown: Cubs’ Pursuit of Arrieta and Other Pitchers, Leadoff Hitters Also Possible, Why Davis Joined Rockies

No matter the accuracy or legitimacy of anything he reported, I’d like to thank Bruce Levine for giving me something to read and to write about. Maybe he is just angling to get some face time on MLBN’s Hot Stove later this morning, or maybe he just likes to see if there is a rarefied space beyond hyperbole, but no matter. We have some topical tidbits to fact check and disseminate, so let’s run with it.

The biggest eye-opener is the Cubs’ alleged willingness to go as high as $27.5M AAV on a four-year contract for Jake Arrieta. Despite all of the social media drama surrounding Arrieta, he’s still the second-best available free agent pitcher this year, most Cubs fans would welcome the ace back, and Brittney Arrieta is a fun follow on Twitter (and still shows her love for the Chicago Cubs with her profile avatar). I’ve read the comments on sites like MLBTR and I have to say that, in general, too many commenters feel it’s their job to police reports with blatant disregard to fact, accuracy or covfefe. Though baseball writers often try to look at the pros and cons of any potential signing or trade, it is strictly the negative aspects that dominate those comments discussions.

The two clubs showing the most interest in Arrieta, according to one unnamed Levine source, are the Cubs and Cardinals. I would think the Twins, Rangers, Brewers, Yankees, and possibly even the Astros share that interest right now, and probably another 5-6 teams if his contract demands drop.

Levine also stated that the Cubs have stayed in touch with free agent right-handers Yu Darvish and Alex Cobb. That’s an ambiguous statement at best. We know Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer met with Darvish and that Cobb has been on the team’s radar since the start of free agency back in November, but if there is ongoing dialogue with either party it is probably cursory at best or something would have leaked.

The article further suggests that trade candidates Gerrit Cole and Chris Archer interest the Cubs, but of course they do. The Pirates allegedly demanded that Gleyber Torres be part of any potential deal for Cole with the Yankees, and the Cubs just don’t have the type of prospect inventory to match that requirement. Archer would probably command more in return given the advantages of his current contract.

Addison Reed and Greg Holland are considerations for the back end of the bullpen but given the contracts that have been awarded to closers over the past two years, I just don’t see the Cubs making that type of commitment, particularly considering their recent M.O. for acquiring closers. A trade for Zach Britton, were he not hurt, would make more sense and perhaps Kelvin Herrera is on the team’s radar.

Levine doesn’t just stick to pitching. He named Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain as outfielders the Cubs may intend to pursue. As for Yelich, and not to beat a dead horse, the Cubs probably lack the young assets it would take to land the emerging superstar. Cain might be available at something of a bargain, but the Cubs’ outfield situation is already overcrowded and there is a certain Nationals outfielder who may be available come next November who is far more interesting. At least Levine didn’t rehash any of the Manny Machado rumors.

Cubs News & Notes

Wade Davis explains why he chose to sign with the Rockies, as if that fat three-year, $52M contract wasn’t reason enough.

Carrie Muskrat looks at the team’s five biggest needs entering the 2018 season.

This analysis (must-read) indicates that often-underrated Jose Quintana is baseball’s most consistent starting pitcher.

This Cubs-Yankees trade suggestion is positively annoying but worth sharing. It involves Javy Baez and Delin Betances, plus an unnamed outfielder and pitcher. Does a deal like this make sense? I don’t want to overrate Baez, but if the return is Betances, Clint Frazier or Estevan Florial, and Chance Adams, I’d have to consider it. If it is more along the lines of Betances, Brett Gardner and Adam Warren, no thank you.

Another blogger suggested a similar trade, but says the Yankees should inquire about Ian Happ and Addison Russell as well.

Mark Prior is rumored to have been hired as the Dodgers bullpen coach, though the team has not confirmed this.

The Cubs are being sued by a fan because of changes to wheelchair seating since stadium renovations started.

Tuesday Stove

ESPN is trying to lure Alex Rodriguez away from Fox Sports.

Bleacher Report looks at five players, including Jake Arrieta, who may want to lower their market expectations.

According to Derek Jeter’s Project Wolverine, the Miami Marlins are expected to turn a large profit in 2018. Of course, unloading the contracts of Dee Gordon and Giancarlo Stanton help a great deal, and if the team follows through on trades for Yelich and J.T. Realmuto, the bottom line will improve further. Because they are profitable as the team currently sits, the prospect return for those two players will likely be immense.

Bob Nightengale reports that J.D. Martinez has a five-year offer from the Red Sox in hand.

The Cardinals have continued interest in Eric Hosmer.

Wednesday Walk Up Song

You Dropped a Bomb on Me by the Gap Band. Thank you, Bruce Levine.

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