Cubs: Ranking the five best moves during the Theo Epstein era

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Chicago Cubs / Jake Arrieta
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Cubs: Theo Epstein’s Greatest Moves: No. 3 – The Jake Arrieta-Pedro Strop trade

When we’re talking about my all-time favorite Cubs, the final two comes down to Hall of Famer Ron Santo and none other than Jake Arrieta. His jawing at Pirates fans on Twitter ahead of the 2015 NL Wild Card Game was next-level; and the fact that he backed it up is the stuff of legend.

Arrieta came to the Cubs along with right-hander Pedro Strop in a 2013 trade with the Baltimore Orioles. This trade ranks as one of the most lopsided in baseball history. Arrieta went on to win a Cy Young Award with Chicago, backed up by a 2.73 ERA in 128 starts. In the 2016 World Series, he did everything in his power to shoulder the burden, striking out 15 in 11 1/3 innings of work.

I could go on about Arrieta for days. But that wouldn’t do Pedro Strop the service he deserves. Love him or hate him (if you dislike him because he wears his hat angled, I don’t care about your opinion) – but the guy was a huge part of the Cubs’ success. Numbers don’t lie.

From 2014 to 2018, Strop averaged 65 appearances annually, working to a 2.61 ERA, 1.029 WHIP and 10.1 K/9 mark. His wipeout slider paired perfectly with his fastball and he was Maddon’s go-to guy in tight spots for much of this time. And to think – Epstein landed both of these guys for the likes of Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman.