I admit I put a ton of emphasis on the Cubs winning the Matt Garza deal.
The consensus around the game is they did just that. However, the question I have today is will the Scott Feldman deal be the real winner?
Gordon Wittenmyer told us the volume coming back from Texas was the main factor in the Cubs making out for Garza. Could the upside we received from Baltimore trump it? It is early in Jake Arrieta Cubs career, but his upside is undeniable.
Looking at the Feldman deal, I figured Pedro Strop alone would be a nice return if he could settle into a late inning role. Strop already has seven holds in 19 games as a Cub. Strop has struck out 21 and walked seven in 18.2 innings of work. There has been much talk he could close as early as next season.
I viewed Arrieta as taking a no-brainer flyer on a guy who was once a top pitching prospect in the game.
There are not many things White Sox President Kenny Williams did as a GM that impressed me. He did however take some other team’s flamed out arms like Jon Danks and Gavin Floyd and turn them over to his pitching coach to salvage with success.
The Cubs feel the same about pitching coach Chris Bosio and time will tell if he can harness some of the tantalizing tools Arrieta possess. The knock on the 27 year old has mainly been command. ESPN analyst Keith Law told the “Waddle and Silvy Show” that Arrieta would repeatedly tease Baltimore with his top of the rotation performances, before falling back into bad habits.
Arrieta has been critiqued for maybe trying to be too cute with his secondary stuff. His fastball alone has some thinking he could be a very effective late inning option. After watching Arrieta in his two starts with the Cubs (0.69 ERA) , I’m holding out hope they have or can parlay him into much more. He seems to be aware of his opportunity.
‘‘For me, there’s no question that this change of scenery and this trade was huge for me and my career,’’ Arrieta said. ‘‘Not only for me, but I think for the Cubs as well. I couldn’t be more excited to be here. I’m thankful to the front office for wanting me and bringing me into this organization.’’
‘‘The biggest thing is just being able to get into the routine again,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s a good feeling. I knew it was just a matter of time.
Arrieta struck out seven and walked two, both in the sixth. He ended the inning with a called third strike — one of five — on Matt Holliday.
‘‘That’s really what’s gotten me in the past — too many free passes,’’ he said. ‘‘I’ve made a conscious effort to get better at certain things, and it’s starting to show.’’
Sometimes a team and or league change is all a guy needs. Maybe a different voice like Bosio will do the trick.
Imagine Arrieta being a rotation anchor for years to come and Strop closing. Could we remember the Feldman deal as the one that turned the corner for this organization?
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