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Cubs Corner: Arrieta Comes Home for 2021, KB Trade Talk, More

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Cubs Corner took the weekend off, and boy what a weekend to miss. While trying to pamper my wife with Valentine’s Day dinners and a bunch of other useless stuff, the Cubs actually got busy this weekend. Positive or negative moves? You decide.

Cubs Corner: Cubs and Arrieta Reunite

The big news over the weekend was the Cubs and former starter Jake Arrieta have come to terms on a one-year deal. As always, the deal is pending a physical.

After leaving the Cubs in 2018 to join the Phillies, Arrieta had found nothing but hard times, seeing his ERA rise to 4.36 in 64 starts in the City of Brotherly Love. Before becoming a Cub, Arrieta spent four years in Baltimore, posting a 5.46 ERA in 69 games, 63 of which were starts.

Yes, those five seasons in Chicago were pitching bliss for Big Jake, as he managed to post an ERA over 128 starts, including a total of six complete games. Arrieta was a fan favorite and became an integral part of the Cubs 2016 World Series Championship team.

I saw an interesting, funny, but very true meme on FB the other day, outlining the irony of Yu Darvish replacing Arrieta, only to be replaced, himself, by Arrieta…

Darvish became quite the prize for the Cubs after battling back from injuries in 2018, and what some think was a mental block, stemming from Game-7 of the Dodgers/Astros World Series. Once the Astros cheating scandal was exposed, Darvish seemed almost vindicated, turning his game around to Cy Young caliber performances.

Can Arrieta return to his old form and produce as he did in Chicago from 2013-2017? Only time will tell. Arrieta is now about to turn 35 (on March 6th) but still appears to be able to grind. While most of the faces he was accustomed to from his earlier years as a Cub are now gone, former catcher David Ross is at the helm.

Arrieta has a 68-31 record with Chicago (.687 winning percentage), with five shutouts to go along with his half-dozen complete games. After the beating the Cubs rotation took this winter, it would be nice to see him slide comfortably into the #2 or #3 slot behind Kyle Hendricks and or Zach Davies.

I think the Cubs are still going to have a very tough row to hoe, but Arrieta may have been a step in the right direction. He’s learned that money may not be everything, as he left Chicago to test the waters of free agency, but fate’s brought him back.

Cubs Corner: Cubs/Mets Talking Bryant Deal

According to baseball analyst Jim Duquette, there is a potential Cubs/Mets deal in the works for none other than Kris Bryant. According to Duquette’s sources, one of two potential deals is in the works for the Cubs’ third baseman.

In scenario one, the Mets would get Bryant in exchange for either third baseman J.D. Davis or outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong. Davis may not be a bad pickup, but the Cubs are starting to get stacked on outfielders again (some better than others), so the latter may not be the best pickup.

Davis is a career .268/.346/.448 hitter, placing him slightly lower than Bryant in terms of career stats (280/.380/.508), however, Bryant’s offense suffered miserably last season and injuries continue to plague him.

Although David Bote can play reasonably well at third, Davis could bring another solid bat and a little more experience than what Bote can offer. The best part of this deal from the Cubs’ perspective is that Bryant will undoubtedly walk away as a free agent if he isn’t traded, whereas, Davis remains under team control through the end of 2024.

In the second scenario, Bryant would head east in exchange for a pair of pitchers: LHP Joey Lucchesi and righty J.T. Ginn.

The Cubs are weak on left-handed starters, but Lucchesi only appeared in three games last season, while starting only two of them (7.94 ERA). Lucchesi was picked up by the Mets this winter in a three-way swap, but it looks now as though he was taken on as trade bait.

Bounceback candidate? Perhaps. Lucchesi will turn 28 in June, so youth is on his side, and he is also controllable through the end of 2024.

So far as J.T. Ginn is concerned, he is a right-handed starter, but only a prospect at this time. Ginn played two years of NCAA ball (Mississippi State University) but has yet to see any time in the minors. Over the course of his college career, Ginn has posted a 3.22 ERA in 18 starts (89.1 innings pitched), while gathering 109 strikeouts. Hope for the future, but not for Opening Day 2021.

Cubs Corner: Birthdays

Celebrating today are the following ex-Cubs:

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Ken Allison is the senior of two MLB Department Heads, as well as a writer and editor for Overtime Heroics. A life-long MLB fan, he's also written for CubsHQ and had the opportunity to try out for the Chicago Cubs in 1986.