Cubs Do Not Plan on Shutting Jake Arrieta Down Early

Less than a day after leaving open the possibility of the Cubs shutting Jake Arrieta down before the end of the season, Rick Renteria told the beat writers prior to Monday’s finale with the Mets that the team has “no plans to shut him down.” Renteria explained the team is not even considering it. And according to the Sun-Times, Renteria was “emphatic about the intention to keep Arrieta pitching through September.”

There are ways to limit, or control, innings without shutting pitchers down early like the front office did with Jeff Samardzija two years ago.

Jake Arrieta has completed 117 1/3 innings at the Major League level this season, two innings shy of his career-high in the majors in a single season. Arrieta completed 119 1/3 innings for the Orioles in 2011. Arrieta threw 20 innings in five rehab starts earlier this season before he was activated from the DL. With 137 1/3 innings this year, Arrieta is less than 40 innings short of his career-high for a single season of 173 1/3 innings in 2010.

PrintThe front office is also monitoring workloads of other pitchers on the big league staff. And Renteria confirmed the team is “looking at everybody” prior to Sunday’s game.

Kyle Hendricks completed a career-high 166 1/3 innings last year between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa. Hendricks finished 102 2/3 innings for Iowa before his promotion and in seven starts for the Cubs he has thrown 48 2/3 innings.  Tsuyoshi Wada, whom the Cubs have an option on for next season, missed most of his two years in the Orioles system and had already completed 113 2/3 innings before he was inserted into the Cubs rotation. Wada has 34 1/3 innings under his belt this season at the Major League level.

In the bullpen, Hector Rondon is six innings short (48 1/3) of last year’s 54 2/3 innings. Justin Grimm has made 58 appearances (53 1/3 innings) in his first season as a reliever. Pedro Strop is 20 innings short of the most innings he’s pitched in a single-season at the big league level. Strop has thrown 46 2/3 innings this year and completed 66 1/3 innings in 2012. And Neil Ramirez has already set a career high in appearances (35) in his first full-season in a reliever. Ramirez completed 103 innings in 21 starts last season in the minor leagues.

The Cubs would like to take a look at Dan Straily and Felix Doubront in a starting role in September and Renteria hinted at Jacob Turner being stretched out to start a game or two in September as well.

As previously reported, Jed Hoyer said last Friday the front office and coaching staff are discussing how the Cubs will handle the rotation and the pitching staff in September. Hoyer indicated the team “will do different things with the rotation” in the final month of the season.

The Cubs might be saying Jake Arrieta is not going to be shut down early, and he should be allowed to pitch through September to the end of the season, the writing is on the wall the front office and coaching staff will be limiting innings over the final month of the season once the roster expands.

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  • cubsin

    Personally, I think Edwin Jackson should be held in reserve for our next 16-inning game to protect John Baker’s arm. Baker has already thrown one inning more that his career-to-date innings at the start of the season.

    • Varmit_Cnty_BBQ

      That’s funny!

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  • GaryLeeT

    If he was at 217 innings pitched, that’s one thing, but at 117? It’s time for Jake to take the next step, especially this late in his career, and become a bona fide starter. Keep going, dude.

    • Theboardrider

      I’m down with that. But he did come off injury. No big reason to push him. Take him to 140-150 and get ready to come back next season and pitch like he has all year long. If he does, he’ll be in the thick of some major award categories. And if a few things fall our way, he may get some October starts…

      • woody34

        I was thinking about this today. What do the Cubs need to do this offseason to be competing for a spot come October next year.

        1. Need some (at least 2) high OBP table setters. (possibly Soler being 1 of them)
        2. Need 2 rotation arms. A #1 and a #2/3 to slot either ahead of or behind Arrieta.

        What other priorities are needed???

        • Theboardrider

          I’d agree for the most part. Although I think we need 1 true TOR starter. Anything else would be nice but more of a luxury. I think a guy like Hammel returning would work. But I think we’ve got internal guys that can do the job. I do expect a bounce back from Turner. And Arietta at #2 and Hendricks at #3 is pretty dang tough.

          I would like to see some high OBP guys up front. Hasn’t Alcantara been so for most of minors career? Russell is as well and I think he could be up at some point. Also if Soler, Bryant and Baez all are in lineup, we could afford to move Rizzo up. Not sure they’ll do it, but I think he’d cross the plate as much as anyone in the league batting 2 hole.

          I’d like to see us add a guy like Cabrera perhaps? But really, if we don’t add any hitters I think we’ll be okay. I expect Castro is going to bust his butt in offseason working with the young guys and return to have potentially a career year. If he’s batting .320 that will solve a lot of problems.

        • Ripsnorter1

          I don’t think Soler is a table setter. He doesn’t run. He mashes the ball. He’s an RBI guy. Have you seen him? He’s huge. That is not my definition of a table setter.
          If he is in the bigs in 2015, he’ll probably bat behind Rizzo.

          • woody34

            Not a table setter in Soler’s case, but he will be a high OBP guy who you want in your top 2 spots in the order. Soler should ideally be slotted in the 2 hole IMO.

        • Ripsnorter1

          The Cubs need a lot of things to compete. They are:
          1. A starting rotation, and
          2. An offense. We don’t score enough runs to win anything.

          Right now, we do not have a starting….
          LF: Coghlan is not a ML starter, imo. He’s a 4/5th OF.
          He had a great July (.376), and then returned to being what he was in August (.258).

          RF: WIll Soler be here? Will he hit ML pitching?
          If not, you don’t have a starting ML RF.

          CF: Alcantara hasn’t proven he can hit MLB. He’s shown less than Lake that was just sent down. Look at Lake’s first year numbers and compare vs. Alcantara and see if it isn’t so. Now that isn’t to say that Alcantara cannot adjust. It is just saying he hasn’t yet. He’s struggling.

          So, we need a starting OF. And of course we are going to be looking to get it through the MiL system.

          3B: We don’t have one right now. Forget Olt. Forget Valbuena. Forget Villanueva. These cannot hit enough to play in MLB. It is going to have to be Bryant.

          Now let’s talk rotation:
          Huge question marks here.
          1. I like Hendricks, and I think he’s the real deal, but he’ll have to prove it over an entire year. But I do expect the Cubs to slot him into the rotation at the #4 spot.
          2. Wada: I have much less confidence here, but he might be your #5.
          3. Travis Wood: he is what he is, and that is–he’d kill us if we had any hope of making the playoffs in 2015.
          He’s bullpen mop up in my world.
          4. Edwin Jackson: two years to go, my friend. Do you really expect the Cubs to be able to trade him away? If not, do you expect the Cubs to toss him into the bullpen? I don’t. He’s looking like your #3 starter.
          5. Arietta: impressive 2014 campaign. Career year? Outlier? Cubs will be counting on his return to excellence in 2015, but will he actually do it? And then there is that balky shoulder to worry about.
          6.They will need to add some starters.

          • cubtex

            that is a pretty realistic description. I think Baez will be the real deal. He will K a lot and so will a lot of the prospects. Will the Cubs be another Atlanta Braves team? Bryant will K a lot as well and so will Alcantara if he starts. Too many issues with swing and miss. They need a contact leadoff hitter. As mentioned…an Adam Eaton type.
            Kyle Hendricks has been unbelievable and has totally surprised me. It cannot continue but he looks like he could be a better #4 than what Travis Wood will give this team moving forward. Jake Arrieta has also been outstanding. Can it continue? Straily is nothing. I am intrigued by Wada. He was great in AAA and has done well so far in a couple of his starts…but to have Wood,Wada and Hendricks all in the same rotation could be a problem. I wish they would have traded Wood last year. Maybe he gets moved this offseason.

          • Ripsnorter1

            What would Wood bring in a trade? The same thing we got for Derrick Lee when he was dealt? (Three prospects that were not prospects).

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