The Cubs have been quite savvy about finding bounce-back guys or reclamation projects to add to their pitching rotation.
Paul Maholm, Scott Feldman, and Jason Hammel have all been key gets by this regime. Yet, the case so far has been that those guys get flipped, much like a rehabbed house, only to be quickly put back on the market and turned for a profit.
Early last July the Cubs made a deal in which they flipped Feldman for another reclamation project in Jake Arietta.
Now this guy looks like a keeper.
I wrote enthusiastically about this deal last summer, when the Cubs first acquired the former top prospect of the Orioles. At the time I had also put a ton of emphasis on the Cubs needing to win the Matt Garza deal. They did just that. However, the question I had then and still have today is whether the Feldman deal could be the real winner?
Yes, the crazy volume coming back from Texas was the main factor in the Cubs making out for Garza. Yet, the deal will still ultimately hinge on what CJ Edwards turns into.
If the Cubs have a potential top-of-the-rotation factor in Arietta for years to come, a real possibility, that could conceivably trump what they received in the Texas deal.
For years I watched enviously as teams like the Cardinals and White Sox would turn former top pitching prospects around under top pitching coaches like Dave Duncan and Don Cooper. They seemed to be masters at finding flaws in young pitchers and then eventually unlocking their potential.
The Cubs may now have the same deal here with pitching coach Chris Bosio, and it appears he is helping Arrieta harness some of the tantalizing tools he possess. Bosio alone makes the Sveum hire less of a fail.
The knock on Arrieta has always been command. Arrieta would repeatedly tease Baltimore with his top of the rotation performances, before falling back into bad habits.
Now it seems Arietta is commanding his fastball, thus setting up the rest of his arsenal. He told Mark Gonzalez he's kinda found himself here.
“I just think coming over here and being able to be myself and let it all out, air it out, not holding anything back, that has been that launching pad for me to take off and have success on a consistent basis," said Arrieta.
Arrieta extended his scoreless streak to 16 2/3 innings Friday night in a 2-1 win at Philadelphia.
“Once the ball gets rolling, things kind to get easier,” said Arrieta, who didn't make his 2013 debut until May 3 because of right shoulder tightness prior to spring training.
Things are getting easier for Arrieta, and things will certainly get easier for the Cubs if he continues to look like the top of the rotation pitcher everyone thought he could be.
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