Cubs are hoping for the improbable with Jake Arrieta
Heck, maybe it’s possible Arrieta has a better year than Darvish altogether in 2021.
I’m not holding my breath on this one, especially given their career trajectories the past two seasons, however, Arrieta still has terrific stuff and it’s possible a return to the Friendly Confines has a rejuvenating effect on the bearded right-hander.
Arrieta is known for the way he keeps his workouts, so that could bode well for a return to form and some added velocity, although both pitchers have had arm issues in the past and are not exactly spring chickens at 34 years old. There’s also the fact that Darvish will now be pitching in a pretty pitcher-friendly park and for a really good team.
Regardless, if a healthy Arrieta is able to attack the zone a bit higher than he was doing in Philadelphia and get some superb defense working behind him, it’s possible he could revert back to 2017/2018-type level. His pitches still have incredible movement on them, and he certainly knows how to pitch. With a little work in the pitch lab and some badinage with Hendricks, it’s wholly possible Arrieta could outpitch Darvish this year if the latter struggles to adapt to his new home in Southern California.
If that happens, fans will once again be annoyed for no reason as these two just worked out in the right place at the right time for a second time.