Chicago Cubs: Jake Arrieta believes he can pitch until he’s 40
The Chicago Cubs Jake Arrieta believes he can pitch until he’s 40. While that isn’t going to change the mind of the Cubs front office, he might be one of the most in shape players in the game.
It might not mean much to the Chicago Cubs when Jake Arrieta says this. It’s not about his ability as much as it is a business decision. But if anyone in the game is in better shape than Arrieta, point them out to me because I haven’t seen them. But would his confidence that he can pitch until he’s 40 do anything to change the Cubs minds?
The first thing to remember is that the Cy Young season of 2015 was no fluke. After arriving in Chicago, Arrieta began to turn things around. In his first full season with the Cubs, Arrieta went 10-5 in 25 starts with a 2.53 ERA. The following season was his breakout 2015. It seems funny to say that an 18-8 year with a 3.10 ERA is a “bad” year. But that’s how Arrieta saw it.
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"“I didn’t have my ‘A’ stuff half the year last year,” Arrieta said Friday after allowing one hit in five innings against the Angels’ Triple-A squad. “And it doesn’t matter. There are still plenty of ways to get guys out.” h/t Mark Gonzalez, Chicago Tribune"
It’s not that unusual for a guy to pitch into his 40’s. But it’s up to the pitcher to make the adjustments in his career to carry that success that deep into his career. Would Arrieta be able to make the adjustment from a “power pitcher” to something different?
"“Look at Rich Hill. He signed a three-year deal (with the Dodgers) and is going to pitch until he’s 40. If I want to, I think I’ll still be able to. Why not?"
So is this a case that the Cubs think he’s trying to make things sound good for a new contract? Probably not. This is a team that knows what potential Arrieta has. But there are two things working against him when it comes to signing with the Cubs. He was a late bloomer, not finding his stride until he got to Chicago and started throwing the cutter. And the large contracts the Cubs already have on the team.
Most of us believe that Arrieta returning to the Cubs is a pipe dream. The combination of his talent and the potential free agent contract he’ll demand wouldn’t be fiscally smart for the Cubs. But with each conversation that Arrieta has with the press, he seems to leave a small glimmer of hope.
"“It would be cool, for sure. “But the business is a business. They’re not dummies. There’s a rhyme and reason for why they make the moves they do, and they have to put what they feel is the team’s best interests and the organization’s best interests first. I would do the same thing."
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He may very well pitch until he’s 40–and possibly beyond. And I believe he’ll be able to do it at a high level. But the timing of it is what will prevent him from coming back to Chicago. They just won’t have the capital to take on another big contract with Jon Lester and Jason Heyward already on the books.