A report last week from Jon Paul Morosi that indicated the Cubs are willing to listen to offers for Jake Arrieta caught many off guard. It is a given the Cubs are talking to teams about Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel and would like to trade Edwin Jackson, but the rumor about Jake Arrieta was quite surprising.
Jake Arrieta was acquired last July 2 in a deal with the Orioles for Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger that included right handed reliever Pedro Strop. Arrieta is not only cost effective but he has three years of club control left after this season … and when he is not walking batters, he can be very, very good.
After missing the first month of the season with right shoulder tightness, Jake Arrieta went 1-1 in his first five starts with a 3.20 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. In 25 1/3 innings, Arrieta gave up 28 hits with 10 walks and 26 strikeouts. But after his third start, the Cubs pushed Arrieta back and he spent time working with Chris Bosio and the results have been impressive.
On May 13 in a start against the Cardinals, Arrieta lasted only four innings due to the five walks he issued. Arrieta surrendered one run on four hits and struck out five batters. Arrieta did not make his next start until May 22 and he limited the Padres to one run on four hits in six innings with one walk and seven strikeouts. Since May 22, Arrieta has walked more than one batter in a single start only one time (June 3 vs. the Mets).
Jake Arrieta has been lights out over his last three starts. Arrieta went two starts (Marlins and Phillies) without allowing a run while giving up five hits in 13 innings with 16 strikeouts and one walk. Arrieta set a career-high in strikeouts his last time out and is 2-0 in his last four games with a 0.73 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP.
Since Arrieta walked three batters against the Mets and wiggled out of trouble during his short outing, Arrieta has allowed one run on 10 hits with two walks and 27 strikeouts in 20 innings.
In response to the Morosi report, David Haugh asked Jed Hoyer how Arrieta fits into the Cubs’ plan moving forward during Hoyer’s weekly spot on The Kap & Haugh Show (87.7 The Game).
“Well, I think he’s a big part of it,” Hoyer said. “Certainly with the way he’s throwing this year, it’s been really fun to watch. His stuff in Philadelphia and then again in Miami, that was frankly the best stuff we’ve seen on the mound all year from anybody. It was 91 mph cutters slash sliders he’s throwing, 95 mph fastball with movement. When Arrieta is in the strike zone and consistent he’s going to be real effective. I think Chris Bosio and Mike Borzello and Lester Strode have done a great job with him. Obviously he deserves a ton of credit for working hard. It’s been really gratifying to see the strides he’s made. Because when he’s consistent and that ball is in the strike zone, I think you are going to see a lot of really good lines out of him.”
Jon Paul Morosi reported the Cubs are not looking to trade all four pitchers, and that includes Arrieta. The front office is believed to only be doing its due diligence and trying to gauge interest throughout the league. Morosi thinks Arrieta would draw interest from more teams because he is not arbitration eligible for the first time until next season.
Jake Arrieta is making $544,500 this season and should receive a bump in pay similar to the one Travis Wood received this year in his first year of arbitration eligibility. Wood went from $527,000 last season and turned an All-Star campaign into a $3.9 million salary in his first year of arbitration eligibility.
If the Cubs move Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, as expected, the Cubs would need to keep Jake Arrieta in order to help fill out a rotation, not only for this season, but moving forward as the organization tries to turn the corner. Tsuyoshi Wada, Chris Rusin and Kyle Hendricks have had good years in Iowa, along with Eric Jokisch, so there is some depth in the system that is close to the majors. Plus the front office has not ruled out either Justin Grimm or Neil Ramirez starting again. But Jake Arrieta has top of the rotation stuff and the 28-year old has shown how good he can be when he throws strikes.