Some of the morning storylines today are portraying Jake Arietta as your Cubs new ace.
Don't bet on that.
Don't get me wrong, Arietta is clearly the best arm currently residing on the Cubs staff. However, moving forward, I don't think the brass would feel very secure about going into a higher-stakes setting with Arietta as their number one pitcher.
The Cubs will undoubtedly make a huge play soon for free agent ace Jon Lester.
There may even be some overtures towards James Shields, and a trade is always possible. But, as I have stated before, don't look for the club to get involved with Max Scherzer. The outrageous price tag, particularly when coupled with some supposed murky medicals, apparently has the Cubs apprehensive.
Now, if the Cubs are to land a clear-cut ace type like Lester, the rotation could fall into place here quite quickly.
Imagine a rotation of Lester, followed by Arrieta at number 2, a more realistic fit for him, then some semblance of Travis Wood, Kyle Hendricks, and other candidates such as Dan Straily or Felix Doubront. Let us not forget about Edwin Jackson, sorry.
I'm often asked about the Cubs' starting pitching moving forward. I continue to profess my supreme confidence that this front office can add another quality arm at a bargain, much like a Jason Hammel or Scott Feldman, to round out the rotation.
Then there is the latest wildcard in Jacob Turner. If the Cubs can rehab the big-armed Turner via pitching doctor Chris Bosio, things on the pitching front could be meshing quite well together with a plethora of young bats. Cubs president Theo Epstein knows he needs a rotation anchor, yet he also realizes Arrieta is a factor near the top regardless.
“Whether we develop one from an unlikely spot like Jake Arrieta or acquire someone who’s already at those heights remains to be seen,” Epstein said recently.
Arrieta was once an Opening Day starter for the Orioles. He has the pedigree to be special.
"It’s a position I’ve kind of been in in the past,” Arrieta said. “I relish that opportunity. It’s important for our ballclub and for every ballclub.”
However, the Cubs are fortunate enough to be getting top-of-the-rotation performances out of the man once considered a failed top prospect. I wouldn't want to push that luck and try to put the added pressure of carrying a staff on him yet. I'm just glad to see Arrieta bouce back from his dismal performance in Coloroado, which I suspected was simply an aberration.
For now, if Arrieta has to be the de facto ace, so be it. But when it comes time to compete, one would figure the Cubs brass will want to slide him back a slot in their deck of cards.
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