The Tribune's Fred Mitchell casually threw out the notion that starter Jake Arrieta was now taking his turn as current Cubs trade bait. Complete with a poll on whether the Cubs should deal Arrieta.
That headline, however, more likely served as a case of severe click bait. Am I completely ruling out the Cubs could entertain dealing their current top pitcher? No; you can never really do that without being somewhat foolish. However, I am told by multiple sources that the Cubs are not shopping Arietta, nor do they intend on moving him in the foreseeable future.
While some still see ace potential in Arrieta, I'm not completely sold on that possibility just yet. Arrieta still needs to show he can shoulder more innings before anchoring an entire rotation. I do, however, firmly see Arrieta as a big part of the program for this thing going forward.
As for Mitchell's speculation, it seems to be just putting together some lazy and convenient logic. Yes, the Cubs have moved their previous aces in Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija in consecutive seasons. Yet, both were offered extensions beforehand, and neither was under the kind of club control that Arrieta is.
The Cubs tried multiple times to lock up Samardzija before moving him for one hell of a prospect in Addison Russell. The Cubs front office is not in the business of selling the entire farm any longer.
As I've mentioned previously, look for the Cubs to start adding impact arms soon, not subtracting them.
Arrieta showed some real signs of maturity by battling back from a tough beginning to his start yesterday, by bouncing back and righting the ship. Sahadev Sharma had some key quotes from the Cubs starter and his skipper.
"I came out kind of flat in the first," Arrieta said. "[I] really struggled with command of just about everything today. Didn't really have a pitch I could go to, necessarily, in some spots to induce contact or kind of make things a little less difficult on myself. [My] pitch count got up [and] it was just pretty much a battle, start to finish, " said Arrieta.
"That performance was probably indicative of how much he's grown," Renteria said. "What if that was a couple years ago, when maybe he was struggling a little bit and wasn't able to grind through and pitch through six innings with not his best command of stuff? Today he did. I thought he worked really well."
Still, some, like our own Ryan Davis, see limitations when it comes to Arrieta's ceiling.
@TomLoxas Unpopular opinion time. I'm not sold on Arrieta. Great stuff, but reminds me a ton of Rich Harden.
— Ryan Davis (@NotTheCubsWay) July 27, 2014
Even if Arrieta ends up being Rich Harden 2.0, I think the Cubs would willingly take that, given what a dynamic talent Harden was when healthy. Though one scout I spoke with likes Arrieta's stuff even better. Adding that the aforementioned Garza makes a better comp, especially in regards to possible progression.
Either way, I would think of Arrieta in terms of the present and future, rather than former Cubs.
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