Jake Arrieta has drawn plenty of attention of late as he’s continued to generate phenomenal results for the Cubs. He’s maintained all along both that he hopes to remain in Chicago and that he won’t take a discount to do so, and it’s still not clear whether the club will be willing to offer what Arrieta considers fair market value. ESPN.com’s Buster Olney argues in an Insider piece that the Cubs are unlikely to go beyond the recent Stephen Strasburg extension, and won’t pursue a bidding war to bring back Arrieta when he reaches free agency after next season. Then, says Olney, he’ll have a chance to cash in, particularly since he’d enter an “incredibly weak market” for starting pitching. That’s a debatable assessment of the free agent class — among the potentially available arms are Yu Darvish, Alex Cobb, Johnny Cueto, Tyson Ross, Lance Lynn, and several others of interest — but there’s little doubt that Arrieta would be a major target if he can keep up anything approaching his recent performance level.
Here’s more from the NL Central:
- Kris Bryant has kept on producing for the Cubs after a stellar rookie campaign, but as August Fagerstrom of Fangraphs explains, he’s dong it differently. Bryant has worked to flatten his swing plane as a way to cut down on his swings and misses, with very promising results. Though he’s more or less hitting at the same levels he did in 2015, Bryant’s managed to reduce his strikeout rate by one-third thus far. As Fagerstrom explains, the biggest impact of the adjustment may be that it raises Bryant’s floor as a hitter.
- The Brewers made some roster moves today, with Scooter Gennett activated from the DL and fellow infielder Yadiel Rivera being optioned to Triple-A. As Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel notes (Twitter links), the decision shows the team’s commitment to struggling Rule 5 pick Colin Walsh. He has an unusual .098/.327/.122 slash line through 55 plate appearances, with 13 walks but just four hits. GM David Stearns would say only that “the evaluation process is ongoing” with respect to Walsh, who obviously will need to stay on the active roster all year if his control rights are to remain Milwaukee property.
- In a reader mailbag, Stephen Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette explains the Super Two considerations facing the Pirates. Early to mid June remains the time to watch for exciting Triple-A starters Tyler Glasnow and Jameson Taillon, he writes. Interestingly, Nesbitt predicts that Taillon is likely to get the first call, explaining that he’s the “more seasoned” of the two even though he has been away from competitive baseball for some time due to injury.