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.
- 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.