Jake Arrieta Rumors

NL Central Notes: Lackey, Arrieta, Burnett, DelPiano

John Lackey intends to pitch “for a couple of more years” after getting clearance from his family, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets.  Though Lackey turns 37 in October, he’ll still be in line for a multi-year deal in free agency this winter given how well he’s pitched over the last three seasons.  Lackey has expressed an interest in remaining in the NL and ideally continuing to pitch for the Cardinals, who could be interested on a short-term deal.

  • Jake Arrieta is represented by Scott Boras but that doesn’t mean the righty is destined to leave the Cubs when he hits free agency, ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers writes.  Boras himself notes in the piece that he has had several high-profile clients who signed extensions with teams, while Arrieta said he has enjoyed his time in Chicago.  “I came over to this organization and was embraced by everybody and they made me feel extremely welcome and the comfort level was there from the get-go.  It was like a seamless transition,” Arrieta said.
  • It seems like A.J. Burnett will return to the Pirates rotation perhaps as early as Wednesday against the Reds.  GM Neal Huntington didn’t confirm any timeline with reporters (including Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review), though “we do have (a plan); we just need to have some conversations with those who are impacted by it.  Those will take place over the next day or so.”  Burnett has been sidelined for over a month recovering from a flexor strain in his throwing elbow but threw a simulated game on Friday and a bullpen session Sunday.
  • Marc DelPiano is leaving his position as a special assistant to Pirates GM Neal Huntington to take a senior vice-president role with the Marlins, ESPN’s Keith Law reports (Twitter link).  DelPiano has been with Pittsburgh since 2008, the latest stop in a 25-year career as a scout, coach and front office member with several different teams.  DelPiano previously worked with the Marlins in various capacities from 2000-05, including serving as their director of player development during the Marlins’ 2003 World Series season.

Central Notes: Arrieta, Berrios, Kirby

Jake Arrieta‘s no-hitter stands out as one of the best performances of the season, and the right-hander’s overall dominant campaign has positioned him as one of the front-runners for the NL Cy Young Award. A season this excellent — Arrieta is 17-6 with a 2.11 ERA, 9.3 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 183 innings — makes for a lucrative arbitration raise, but his raise could be steeper than most assume. As MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes tweets, our arbitration projection model currently has Arrieta jumping to $9.9MM in 2016 — nearly triple his current $3.625MM salary. The Cubs control Arrieta through the 2017 season.

Here’s more on Arrieta and the game’s Central divisions…

  • The trade that sent Arrieta and Pedro Strop to Chicago in exchange for Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger has been brought up a great deal since the no-hitter, but Mark Brown of Camden Chat argues that Arrieta was unlikely to ever succeed with the Orioles. Arrieta was 27 at the time he was traded and had shown great raw talent with poor results for the better part of four seasons. Arrieta gave the Orioles little reason to ever believe he’d turn around, having posted a 5.46 ERA in 358 innings through the age of 27.
  • Though he wasn’t among the Twins‘ first wave of September callups, top prospect Jose Berrios is still under consideration to join the team later this month, writes the St. Paul Pioneer Press’ Mike Berardino“I don’t think we have finalized everything we’re going to do here,” said manager Paul Molitor. “Going forward, his name is definitely still being talked about.” GM Terry Ryan admitted that the upcoming November roster crunch is “a piece” of the consideration, as Berrios doesn’t have to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason as he’s not yet Rule 5 eligible. However, Ryan also notes that the Twins already added Byron Buxton to the 40-man despite the fact that he also didn’t need to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft. Berardino runs down a number of Twins prospects that may need to be protected on the 40-man this winter.
  • The Brewers announced today that left-hander Nathan Kirby, the team’s supplemental round pick from the most recent draft, underwent Tommy John surgery (h/t: Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, on Twitter). The Virginia product slipped from a potential Top 5-10 pick to the Comp Balance round after his stock dropped due to a lat strain. Kirby tossed just 12 2/3 innings with Milwaukee’s Class-A affiliate before being sidelined, and he could very well be lost for the entirety of the 2016 season now.

East Notes: Hazen, Dombrowski, Arrieta, Fish

MLBTR’s Zach Links collected sets of notes from both the AL East and NL East earlier today, and here are some more items from both divisions…

  • Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen “is a stronger candidate than some realize” to be the team’s next general manager according to “rumors around the majors,” Peter Gammons writes in his latest entry on GammonsDaily.com.  Hazen has been an assistant GM with the Sox since 2011 and he has interviewed for GM openings with the Padres and Dodgers in recent years.
  • Gammons’ piece is a general overview of the young talent on both the Red Sox roster and in their farm system.  While some of Dave Dombrowski’s biggest trades have involved moving prospects for established veterans, Gammons notes that some of those moves were ownership-driven and not necessarily a sign that Dombrowski will again use young players as wholesale trade bait.
  • Speaking of rival teams not swinging trades, the Nationals were interested in Jake Arrieta back when he was an Oriole, the Washington Post’s Barry Svrluga tweets.  The two sides apparently “had a deal,” according to Svrluga, but it fell through since the “O’s wouldn’t trade with D.C.”  This would seem to imply that Baltimore upper management scuttled the deal.  The Nats and O’s have never combined on a trade (hat tip to the MLBTR Transaction Tracker) and the two clubs have been involved in a legal dispute over MASN broadcast rights fees.  Arrieta was instead dealt to the Cubs in July 2013, a trade that is looking like more and more or a steal for Chicago.
  • Nationals righty Aaron Barrett visited Dr. James Andrews in regards to his right elbow injury, MLB.com’s Bill Ladson reports.  Barrett went on the 15-day DL with what was called an elbow sprain on August 6 and he was shifted to the 60-day DL last week, though it isn’t yet known if a Tommy John procedure is needed.  Barrett has a rather misleading 4.60 ERA in 29 1/3 relief innings for Washington this season, as his peripheral numbers (10.7 K/9, 5.00 K/BB rate, 2.20 FIP) show that he’s pitched much better than his ERA would indicate.
  • The Marlins aren’t likely to make any trades before tomorrow’s waiver deadline, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports.  Martin Prado seemingly drew the most interest of any Marlin in August, though the club plans to hang onto most of its core players in order to make a run in 2016.  Miami was considering adding an innings-eating arm or two for September though if they do so, it won’t be via a trade.
  • The Marlins‘ release of veteran utilityman Jeff Baker in July was partially due to some internal problems, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports.  The Marlins “felt [Baker] was spreading negativity in the clubhouse, was a bad influence on a couple of young players and was conveying an anti-front office message.”  Jackson notes, however, that Baker was popular with teammates and media members.

Extension Candidate: Jake Arrieta

In the midst of a second straight exceptional year, Cubs starter Jake Arrieta appears likely to sign a big contract at some point, whether that’s an extension with the Cubs or a free-agent deal following the 2017 season. The Cubs, however, have not begun extension discussions with Arrieta (as Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times recently reported) and it’s not clear whether they’ll do so. Arrieta is already under team control for two more seasons, and the Cubs might feel that adding additional pitching talent this offseason is a higher priority than signing a pitcher they already have.

USATSI_8706115_154513410_lowresIf the Cubs did want to sign Arrieta, they would have a tough task ahead of them, though perhaps not an impossible one. Via CSNChicago.com’s Patrick Mooney, agent Scott Boras strongly suggests Arrieta won’t be cheap, comparing him to Max Scherzer and arguing that Arrieta’s relatively low innings totals (he’s pitched 740 1/3 in his career) make him a good bet to age well. Arrieta’s arm is “kind of ideal for the free-agent dynamic,” Boras says. But Arrieta himself said last season that he would be interested in staying in Chicago and that he wouldn’t ask for an “astronomical amount of money.”

Of course, if Arrieta were to ask for an astronomical amount of money, he’d be more likely to get it now than he was then. He finished ninth in NL Cy Young voting in 2014 and has followed up that breakout season with an even better one, pitching more innings per start and posting a career-high ground-ball rate (53.9%) while maintaining his strong peripherals (9.2 K/9, 2.2 BB/9). He currently ranks first in the league in wins (16), second in ERA (2.22) and fourth in strikeouts (178), setting him up for a huge raise on his $3.63MM salary through the arbitration process this winter.

Finding precedents for an Arrieta extension is difficult. Extensions for pitchers who are already arbitration eligible frequently only buy out arbitration seasons and do not delay free agency, as with recent extensions for Lance Lynn, Jordan Zimmermann and Mat Latos. (It’s certainly possible that the Cubs could sign Arrieta to a two-year deal in a similar mold, but that wouldn’t change much about his future with the organization.) Wade Miley gave up a year of free agency eligibility in his recent deal with the Red Sox, although Arrieta is obviously a much better pitcher. Matt Harrison‘s $55MM deal with the Rangers is probably the clearest comparable for Arrieta, particularly given that Harrison was coming off his first arbitration season and made a salary similar to Arrieta’s ($2.95MM). Arrieta is also better than Harrison was, though, and Harrison’s deal is almost three years old.

Using Harrison’s deal as a potential precedent is tricky for another reason, too. Harrison was only 27 at the time of his deal and figured to have another shot at a significant payday even after it was over. Arrieta is older, and if he were to agree to a long-term deal now, it would likely be the only significant multi-year contract of his career.

Then you have to factor in the escalation in salaries of starting pitchers since Harrison’s extension. Homer Bailey received a nine-figure deal from the Reds, and his best seasons prior to the deal were nowhere near as good as Arrieta’s last two. Bailey was a year closer to free agency than Arrieta is, but given the raise Arrieta is likely to receive this offseason, he could easily make $20MM-$25MM total in his last two years before free agency eligibility anyway. Beyond that, he could credibly ask for $20MM per season, and that might even be slightly undershooting it. Rick Porcello‘s four-year, $82.5MM deal with the Red Sox strongly suggests Arrieta ought to be worth more than $20MM a year, even though Arrieta doesn’t have youth on his side as Porcello did.

A five-year deal for Arrieta, then, could get close to the $100MM mark, and a six-year deal could push past the nine-figure mark. It seems unlikely that Boras would settle for anything less than five years, and probably even six, given that signing an extension that delays free agency by only a year or two likely wouldn’t provide Arrieta with enough of a financial incentive to put off seeking a big free-agent contract.

There’s also the problem of how a five- or six-year deal would work for the Cubs. A five-year deal would still be on the books in 2020, by which point the Cubs look somewhat likely to be dealing with significant arbitration raises for key younger players like Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Kyle Schwarber, and others. They will probably also wish to extend at least some of those players. They’ll also likely still be dealing with the contracts of Jon Lester, Anthony Rizzo and any pitcher they sign this offseason.

That isn’t to say that a deal for Arrieta would be impossible. It seems likely that the Cubs’ budget will be significantly larger in 2020, with more money coming in from a new TV deal. If it is, the fuss over whether they can afford Arrieta might end up being mostly irrelevant. But, given that they already control Arrieta through his age-31 season, could be in line for a draft pick if he signs elsewhere, and that Boras is surely highly curious about the free-agent market, perhaps it isn’t surprising that the two sides haven’t struck a deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Players Avoiding Arbitration: Friday

With the deadline to exchange arbitration figures set for noon CT, there figure to be a large number of agreements to avoid arb today, as there were yesterday. All arbitration agreements can be followed using MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker, and we’ll keep track of today’s smaller agreements in this post, with all projections coming courtesy of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz

  • Righty Henderson Alvarez agreed to a $4MM deal with the Marlins, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported earlier today on Twitter. Alvarez had been projected to earn $4.5MM after putting up a huge 187-inning, 2.65 ERA campaign entering his first season of arb eligibility.
  • The Athletics have agreed to a $1.4MM deal with righty Ryan Cook that includes, MLB.com’s Jane Lee reports on Twitter. Cook gets a slight increase over the $1.3MM he had been projected to earn. Oakland has also inked outfielder Sam Fuld to a $1.75MM deal, per Mike Perchik of WAPT (via Twitter). He too lands just above his projection, which was for $1.6MM.
  • Outfielder Collin Cowgill avoided arbitration with the Angels for $995K, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez tweets. He was projected to earn $900K.
  • Righties David Carpenter and Nathan Eovaldi both have deals with the Yankees, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports on Twitter. Carpenter will earn about $1.3MM while Eovaldi will take home $3.3MM
  • The Rockies have a deal in place with lefty Rex Brothers, tweets MLB.com’s Thomas Harding. Brothers was projected to earn $1.3MM but will take home $1.4MM, Harding adds via Twitter.
  • ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers reports that the Cubs have settled with both Travis Wood and Luis Valbuena (Twitter links). Wood will receive $5.686MM — a bit north of his $5.5MM projection, while Valbuena will earn $4.2MM, per Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald (on Twitter). Valbuena was projected to earn $3.1MM.
  • Mike Perchick of WAPT in New Jersey has a wave of arbitration agreements, starting with the Astros and Hank Conger settling on a $1.075MM, which is just $25K behind Swartz’s projection (Twitter link).
  • Also via Perchick, the Athletics and Brett Lawrie settled on a $1.925MM contract (Twitter links). Lawrie, who had been projected at $1.8MM, was acquired by Oakland in the Josh Donaldson blockbuster.
  • Rockies backstop Michael McKenry will earn $1.0876MM in 2015, via Perchick. McKenry was projected by Swartz to earn $1.5MM.
  • Michael Pineda and the Yankees settled on a $2.1MM salary for the upcoming season, Perchick tweets, which is a direct match with Swartz’s projection.
  • Domonic Brown and the Phillies settled on a one-year pact worth $2.6MM, via Perchick, which represents a difference of just $100K between Swartz’s projection and the actual figure. Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com tweets that Ben Revere has avoided arbitration as well, and the club now announces that he’ll earn $4.1MM — $100K north of his $4MM projection.
  • Red Sox setup man Junichi Tazawa agreed to a $2.25MM payday, according to Perchick. Swartz had pegged him for a $2MM contract.


NL Notes: Cubs, Arrieta, Pirates, Revere

The Cubs top the list of teams who could improve substantially in 2015, Richard Justice of Sports On Earth writes. That was probably an easy call, given the amount of young talent the Cubs have on the verge of making an impact. Justice also lists the Mets (who are set to re-introduce Matt Harvey into a strong core of young pitching), Red Sox, Marlins and Astros as teams who could take big steps forward. Here’s more from the National League.

  • The Cubs haven’t had any formal extension discussions with emerging star Jake Arrieta, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. Cubs president Theo Epstein says he doesn’t see extending Arrieta as “a pressing matter.” Arrieta, meanwhile, says he doesn’t want an exorbitant amount of money, but expresses confidence that he can continue posting excellent numbers. He’ll also be eligible for arbitration this offseason, so it’s no surprise that, as Wittenmyer notes, Arrieta is in “no rush” to sign a long-term deal.
  • The Pirates‘ 82nd victory in 2013 was an important moment, but on Thursday, the arrival of the Bucs’ second straight winning season felt unimportant, Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. “Eighty-two no longer should be celebrated at some point in early to mid Sept., it should be an expectation,” Sawchik writes, noting that the Pirates have a strong core of Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, Gerrit Cole, Neil Walker and Gregory Polanco (along with Josh Harrison) and one of baseball’s better collections of minor league talent.
  • The Phillies could have a revamped outfield next season, given that they could deal Marlon Byrd and/or give up on Domonic Brown. The team is also hoping for more from Ben Revere next season, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki writes. Revere has hit .309 so far this season, but his minimal walks and power have led to an on-base percentage of .326 and a slugging percentage of .367. Manager Ryne Sandberg hopes Revere will hit for more power. “I think that should be the next thing for him is to hit 35 to 40 doubles in the season, hit in the gaps,” says Sandberg. “[T]here is no reason that shouldn’t translate into games and certain situations with certain pitches.” Revere has been in the big leagues for parts of five seasons and has shown little power-hitting ability, however.

NL Notes: Sandoval, Arrieta, D’backs, Martin

Here’s the latest out of the National League:

  • The agent for Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval says that the free agent-to-be is still open to discussing a new deal, though no talks have occurred “in months,” according to a tweet from Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com. Sandoval, who will hit the market before his age-28 season, has put up a solid walk year. In addition to a .283/.330/.438 line and 14 home runs through 463 plate appearances, Sandoval has impressed defensive metrics and scouts alike with his glovework on the hot corner. Even better, his primary competitor on the third base market, Chase Headley, has not impressed. Of course, many clubs will probably view Hanley Ramirez as a third base option at this point as well.
  • Cubs starter Jake Arrieta says he is open to an extension with the club, as Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Though his agent, Scott Boras, typically advises his clients to go year-to-year until reaching free agency, Arrieta says he loves playing in Chicago and would be interested in a reasonable new contract. “I don’t think I’m a guy that’s going to ask for an astronomical amount of money,” he said. “But I think if there’s a fair deal to be reached, I’m in 100 percent.” Arrieta added that he felt Boras would not be any hindrance to a deal, but would instead arm him with the necessary advice and information to enable him to reach a decision. He did note that no talks had occurred to date: “I don’t think it’s out of the question. I don’t think there’s been anything formal in the works, but this is an organization that I’ve really seen a transformation take place … .” Arrieta will be arb-eligible for the first time next year, entering his age-29 season, and could not have set himself up much better. His current line: 2.77 ERA over 110 1/3 innings with 9.2 K/9 against 2.4 BB/9.
  • The Diamondbacks will be in the market for starting pitching over the coming winter, and could look to the Japanese market to fill the need, reports Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Having worked to increase the team’s presence in Japan, the D’backs have been among the many teams watching 26-year-old righty Kenta Maeda, says Piecoro.
  • Braves righty Cody Martin drew plenty of interest as the club looked to bolster its bullpen and bench at the trade deadline, writes Bill Ballew of Baseball America. With a solid feel for multiple quality offerings, Martin has drawn comparisons to Kris Medlen and is viewed as a solid rotation or pen candidate despite his lack of a single plus pitch.

Cubs Notes: Prospects, Price, Arrieta, Barney

The Cubs scored a league-best eight players within MLB.com’s midseason list of the top 100 prospects in baseball, and also topped the league in terms of the “prospect points” ranking system.  Kris Bryant (fourth), Javier Baez (sixth) and Addison Russell (seventh) were the highest-rated young Cubs on the list.

Here’s some more news out of Wrigleyville…

  • Rumors linking the Cubs to David Price don’t make much sense, ESPN’s Buster Olney opines (Twitter links).  While the Cubs have the prospect depth the Rays are looking for in a Price deal, Olney wonders why Chicago would give away top minor league talent when they could just sign a top free agent arm like Jon Lester this winter if they wanted to add an ace.
  • Olney figures the Cubs would only make a move for him if the Rays’ asking price severely dropped and if Chicago was allowed to negotiate an extension before making the trade, as the Cubs aren’t going to be contenders before Price’s contract expires at the end of the 2015 season.
  • We called Theo [Epstein] and asked about Jake Arrieta and we were told they will NOT move him. Period,” an NL scout tells David Kaplan of CSN Chicago (Twitter link).  There were rumors last month that the Cubs were gauging the market for Arrieta, yet it’s no surprise he could be untouchable given his excellent performance this year.  The right-hander has a 2.18 ERA and 9.8 K/9 over 91 innings and is controlled through the 2017 season.
  • The Cubs have received trade interest in second baseman Darwin Barney and expect to move him before Thursday’s DFA deadline, Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish tweets.  Barney was designated for assignment by Chicago on July 22.
  • Neither the Cubs or the Diamondbacks will trade from their surplus of young infielders this summer, as both teams prefer to use that depth to look for pitching in the offseason, Metsblog.com’s Matthew Cerrone reports.

Central Notes: Verlander, Tigers, Cubs, Morris, Pinto, Marmol

Justin Verlander‘s recent struggles are “a giant concern” for the Tigers, writes James Schmel of MLive.com, because Verlander himself admits that he isn’t sure how to fix them. Verlander told reporters that he doesn’t feel he’s at the point in his career where he needs to reinvent himself on the mound, though he acknowledged that he doesn’t have the same velocity he used to have and said he didn’t blame the fans for booing him last night as he left the game. Verlander yielded seven runs on 12 hits last night and has posted a 7.83 ERA with a woeful 26-to-20 K/BB ratio over his last 43 2/3 innings (seven starts). He is averaging a career-worst (though still solid) 92.6 mph on his fastball.

Here’s more on the Tigers and the baseball’s Central divisions…

  • Jon Morosi of FOX Sports hears that the Tigers aren’t planning on making a move to upgrade at shortstop, as they like what they’ve seen from rookie Eugenio Suarez since his promotion to the Majors (Twitter link). It’s tough not to like what they’ve seen from the 22-year-old Suarez, who is hitting .346/.452/.808 with three homers through his first 10 games. Clearly, he’s due for some regression, but the optimism is understandable.
  • An AL scout tells David Kaplan of CSN Chicago that he’s spoken to the Cubs about both Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, but he hasn’t gotten any indication from Chicago that any of their other starters are available (Twitter link). That contrasts recent reports that the team would be willing to listen to offers on Edwin Jackson and Jake Arrieta. Given Jackson’s remaining salary, it seems hard to believe that Chicago wouldn’t be open to moving him.
  • The Pirates weren’t looking to trade right-hander Bryan Morris before trading him to the Marlins, GM Neal Huntington tells Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. However, Miami expressed interest in the deal after being attracted to an increase in Morris’ velocity and the addition of a two-seam/sinking fastball to his repertoire, and the two sides were able to strike a deal. Pittsburgh received Miami’s Competitive Balance Round A pick (No. 39 overall), used to draft (and sign) Connor Joe, while Miami has been rewarded to this point with 9 1/3 innings of scoreless relief from Morris, who has shown greatly improved command.
  • Twins closer Glen Perkins offered some candid comments regarding catcher Josmil Pinto on 1500 ESPN Radio with Phil Mackey and Judd Zulgad (via Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press). While he was highly complimentary of Pinto’s offensive skills, the left-hander was blunt in his description of Pinto’s defense: “He’s a long, long ways away, to be honest with you. …his pitch framing, he’s got some work to do.” Perkins flatly he said Pinto is “surely not at the big-league level as far as catching for me.” Perkins went on to preach the importance of framing and praise veterans Jonathan Lucroy and Jose Molina for their prowess at the skill. Minnesota recently sent Pinto to the minors to get more consistent at-bats and consistent time behind the plate. He’s spent much of the season DHing while Kurt Suzuki, whose offensive contributions have been somewhat surprising, has done the bulk of the catching.
  • After leaving the Reds organization to take a “mental break,” the representative of reliever Carlos Marmol says that the righty may not look to return this season, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Agent Paul Kinzer told Heyman that Marmol decided to return to the Dominican Republic to deal with unspecified personal issues, and has had no physical problems.

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.

Cubs Gauging Market On Samardzija, Hammel, Arrieta, Jackson

JUNE 16: In addition to discussing Samardzija and Hammel trades, the Cubs are at least willing to consider the possibility of moving additional arms, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports (Twitter links). Morosi hears Chicago is trying to gauge the market on Samardzija, Hammel, Edwin Jackson and even Jake Arrieta.

It’s not surprising that they’d be willing to move Jackson, as they undoubtedly would be pleased to shed some of his salary obligations — he is owed roughly $28.3MM through 2016 — but Arrieta is somewhat of a surprise. Chicago acquired him in last year’s Scott Feldman trade, and he’s off to an outstanding start in 2014, having pitched to a 2.09 ERA with 9.2 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and a 52.1 percent ground-ball rate in 43 innings. Still just 28 years old, Arrieta is not yet arbitration eligible and is under team control through 2017, so it stands to reason that the asking price would be high.

Listening on Arrieta is a bit puzzling, as one would think he’s the type of arm the Cubs would like to build their rotation around, but he’s also battled injuries and has never been able to consistently succeed in the Majors, despite having the talent to do so. As Morosi notes, the Cubs aren’t planning to trade all four starters, but rather is doing its due diligence to know the market value of each starter heading into trade season.

JUNE 14: The Cubs are already discussing trades involving starting pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel with at least two teams, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Interested teams include the Braves, Blue Jays and Mariners, and Wittenmyer cites one source from within baseball who tells him Hammel is likely to wind up with Seattle.

With about six weeks left to go before the trade deadline, the Cubs are 27-38, 11 1/2 games behind the Brewers in the NL Central. It is, of course, not necessarily surprising that the Cubs would consider trading two veteran pitchers who are having good seasons. Samardzija, who is eligible for free agency following the 2015 season, currently has a 2.77 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 91 innings. Hammel, who’s signed to a one-year deal for $6MM, is in the midst of the best season of his career, with a 2.81 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9.

Steve Adams contributed to this post.