Around the Bases: Arrieta Rumors, Heyward’s Slump, Theo’s Take on the Cubs’ Hot Start
There’s been a few headlines this week that we wanted to get you caught up on before we head into the weekend.
As we all know, the Padres came into Chicago and surprisingly took 2-of-3 from the Cubs. It was uncomfortable but inevitable too, just ask Theo Epstein and he’ll tell you as much. Jake was asked about his contract, answered a few questions, and now everyone wants to run wild with speculation. And Jason Heyward is slumping but it hasn’t had much of an impact on the Cubs — his defense sure has though.
- Jake Arrieta was asked about his contract status earlier in the week and his comments have been used to write provocative, attention grabbing headlines like ‘Jake’s leaving the Cubs’ or ‘Arrieta not interested giving the hometown discount’ or whatever. Don’t believe all the hype. In fact, Jake told Carrie Muskat, of MLB.com, “I think I’ve made it clear I like Chicago. I think everybody knows that. If I had it my way, I’d stay here.”
- Don’t fall for the alarmist headlines, Jake is under contract through next season (2017) and he won’t be a free agent until he’s 32. He will get his pay day — and he deserves it — and it’s true that it may not be from the Cubs, but there’s no reason to worry about that right now. There’s a lot of baseball to be played between now and then and the roster is bound to change. Now, if the Cubs still lack starting pitching depth — we talked about that before the season — next year then we may want to start being concerned. My assumption is the Cubs will be going after a young pitcher come the trade deadline.
- Earlier this week Jason Heyward acknowledged, as reported by CSN Chicago, what everyone already knows, that he’s off to a slow start this year. “I’ve been a slow starter,” Heyward said earlier this week. “I’ve done that before and bounced back, and then you look back, and nobody’s thinking about April and May.”
- After signing an 8-year $184 million contract with the Cubs in the offseason, Heyward is almost certainly feeling some pressure. Joe Maddon has no concerns and said, “It’s just a matter of time. He’s gone through this before. His work is impeccable. He’s really good. So it will catch up.” There’s no question Jason will break out soon and all this talk will be muted. In the meantime, we’ll just have to settle for watching him dazzle us with his stellar defense in right field.
- And finally, Theo Epstein chatted with reporters (Tribune, CSN, MLB.com) and commented about the Cubs’ fast start. Theo stated, “We’re in a stretch right now when winning seems far easier than it actually is. We know there is going to be a stretch, probably a long stretch this year, when winning even one game seems virtually impossible. That’s the nature of baseball.”
- And don’t we know it; the Cubs are coming off losing 2-of-3 to the Padres including the game Wednesday night when John Lackey couldn’t have pitched much better and the Cubs still lost. It happens, the Cubs will be fine. They just probably won’t win 130 games this year, that’s all.