In today’s video courtesy of the Chicago Cubs, we see Jake Arrieta and Adbert Alzolay in discussion. I noted in Sunday’s post an article by Meghan Montemurro in the Tribune that quoted Jake as saying he’d had a number of discussions with Alzolay about pitching, and we see that in action here.
Also visible in this video: Craig Kimbrel, our first look at Ian Happ, Kris Bryant and Jason Heyward, and also Kyle Hendricks, Willson Contreras and Shelby Miller.
In Monday’s Tribune, Paul Sullivan writes about new Cubs righthander Zach Davies and his similarities to Hendricks:
“It’s funny because they put our lockers next to each other, so I think they know the comparisons too,” Davies said Sunday morning on a teleconference from the Cubs complex in Mesa, Ariz. “We’ve talked a lot, simple stuff so far.
“There are similarities. There are differences in my eyes and his eyes too. There are a little bit finer differences that not everybody catches, but at the same time, as pitchers who’ve been in the game a little while, you know those differences and you know how that changes your game plan compared to his.
“Our games are similar in the fact that it’s reading swings, it’s reading hitters and how our skills set and our stuff plays within the game against those guys. I love information. I love baseball. So I enjoy those conversations.”
Many people have criticized the Yu Darvish trade, in which the Cubs received four prospects who are several years away from the big leagues — and Davies. Davies is actually a pretty good pitcher. Darvish ranked fifth in the NL in bWAR (2.7) in 2020. Davies was 15th at 1.7 — just behind Hendricks.
Davies was always tough on the Cubs when he was with the Brewers. Being on a staff with Hendricks might help him — or they could even help each other:
Davies and former Pittsburgh Pirates starter Trevor Williams are the biggest wild cards in the Cubs rotation. Every Cubs fan is familiar with what Jake Arrieta can do if he returns to form. But if those two can succeed and pile up innings, it should take a lot of pressure off the bullpen and give the Cubs a chance to compete in what most consider a down year for the NL Central.
“Those are two guys specifically, I’m excited to know more and just pitch alongside,” Hendricks said. “I’ve gotten to hang out with them in the clubhouse already, and they’re just two super-cool guys, laid-back but guys that love to compete and love to win. And that’s what you saw from the other side playing against them. … It’s going to be really fun to toe the rubber, go to war with those guys and learn from each other.”
This Cubs rotation might wind up being a lot better than you think.
Monday is the first full-squad workout, so I would anticipate that the video I can show you tomorrow will have many more players doing different sorts of workouts.