The Cubs have signed LHP Felix Doubront to a one-year deal worth $1.925 million, avoiding arbitration.
Doubront will compete for the Cubs’ fifth starter spot next year, after performing OK-but-not-great after coming over from Boston last July (3.98 ERA, 4.66 FIP in four starts).
For that spot (assuming Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks are the other four), he’ll battle Travis Wood, Tsuyoshi Wada, Jacob Turner, Dan Straily and possibly Edwin Jackson. Lots of competition, which should be fun to watch play out this spring.
The Cubs have six other arbitration-eligible players: Arrieta, Wood, Pedro Strop, Welington Castillo, Chris Coghlan and Luis Valbuena. Today is the deadline for teams to exchange salary figures with arb-eligible players, so expect to see some more signings soon.
We should see Arrieta and the Cubs resolve his 2015 contract in the “next day or two,” according to Gordon Wittenmyer. It should be interesting to see what Arrieta gets after performing so well last year.
Please go, “Go Cubs Go”
Mark Caro of the Tribune writes that it’s time to stop playing “Go Cubs Go” after Cubs wins.
I have to say I’m fully on board with this. The song makes me cringe. Even though it is played after a win, it has a very “lovable loser” mentality to it, if that makes sense.
Some people obviously like the song. I see them singing along on the TV broadcasts. But this thing needs to end.
(Mostly unrelated side note, I’d very much like the Cubs to bring back Van Halen’s “Jump” during the first-inning warmup.)
* Jake Arrieta is cool with Lester getting the Opening Night start, writes Patrick Mooney, who, by the way, has been cranking out some really good material this week. Mooney also says the Cubs likely aren’t close to signing a long-term extension with the pitcher. Arrieta is signed through 2017 (let’s all smile and think about that Scott Feldman trade again), so the Cubs have some time to work something out — and evaluate Arrieta some more. We all hope he can continue to pitch like he did in 2014, but we (and the Cubs) can’t entirely count on it either. Not yet.
* As Evan wrote last night, Anthony Rizzo said yesterday that the Cubs would win the National League Central. Confidence is not something Cubs fans have witnessed much in recent years. Maybe since the annual Carlos Zambrano Cy Young self-predictions. But in addition to Rizzo’s quote and Theo Epstein’s comments after last season, we’ve seen examples of confidence from new manager Joe Maddon and newly-signed ace pitcher Jon Lester. Rizzo is probably my favorite Cub at the moment, and I love hearing this. (Even though he may be a tad over-optimistic.)
* Edwin Jackson has “good potential to be a Cy Young,” new Cubs catcher Miguel Montero recently told Cubs.com. I would say this is a bit of a stretch; however, I’d definitely settle for somewhere between Cy Young and the train wreck we witnessed last year. The two were teammates with the Diamondbacks in 2010, when Jackson fired a no-hitter against Joe Maddon’s Rays. It sounds like Montero might know how to get through to Jackson and get him to focus, which would be great if that’s the case.