Here we are folks! The very time we all waited for when Theo was first hired. We have what seems to be the very best team in baseball with the promise of being the very best for many years to come. Guess what that means? It simply makes the Cubs the object of hate from absolutely everyone that don’t call themselves a Cub fan.
Those same haters were fine with the Cubs winning a single championship. It was a romantic story where the nerd finally gets the girl for the homecoming dance. It was “allowed.” Shouldn’t those lovable losers get at least one day in sunshine? Oh, it’s ok, let them win one and then go back to losing for another 100 years. Hehehe
Well the Rickett’s had a different idea. They hired Theo to do a job that should have been done decades ago. It wasn’t done decades ago because winning wasn’t a priority. It might shock a few folks but professional sports is all about making money. The Cubs past ownerships used the team as a tax write off for their other business’ that were their primary money maker. The Rickett’s changed all this.
The Rickett’s family weren’t about using the team as a tax write off but more as another source to make money…. obscene money! They realized that putting a winning team on the field would also make them a whole lot more money! Why else would you buy out rooftop owners, rehab a crumbling stadium, build new facilities in both Arizona and the Dominican Republic and then be willing to lose games like they did so that the team could get high draft choices and trade away aging bloated contracts for assets of the future?
But this article won’t rehash how we got here. We are pretty sure everyone knows that story. What really needs to be addressed is how this whole “lovable losers” mantra has been smashed and the Cubs are now the object to be attacked and even hated by so many. This team is just making the opposition look like little league teams. The are simply said, kicking the leagues ass.
Would you expect others to just accept this? That’s a pretty foolish assumption. No one likes to get beat the way the team is beating you. Not only do they kick your ass on a nightly basis, they laugh and have a blast while they do it. They kick sand in your face and there’s really nothing you can do about it!
So that brings us to this rumor that has morphed into front page news. That story is whether or not Jake Arrieta has used PED’s to accomplish what he has done over the past year. We present the latest “proof” from Stephen A. Smith who uses stats to create his evidence. Then others jump in with the idea that Jake Arrieta somehow just came out of nowhere to now produce video game type stats.
We believe these are flawed arguments for evidence. We are also acknowledging that since this is a Cubs blog, we are most definitely biased in our opinion. Admitting bias is something new for certain reporters and also leaves a bad taste in their mouth and probably why others don’t admit their own bias. With that said, let’s examine why we feel the given evidence is flawed.
Arrieta’s accent to being one of the best pitchers in all of baseball wasn’t an overnight event. Granted his #’s over the past year are simply laughable. His success started way before the #’s started. Let’s examine the history.
He was drafted in the 5th round of 2007 by the Baltimore Orioles. He was ranked by MLB at #37. His scouting report talked of a big right hander that went right after hitters with a big 97 mph fastball. He eventually worked his way up the ladder and was even named as the Orioles #1 starter. But his results never came close to meeting the huge expectations.
So what happened. How does a guy with what seems to be all the tools just does not achieve success? Well the answer to this can be many. Some guys just take longer to reach their potential than others (see Jose Bautista). Some pitchers need to develop another pitch (see Bruce Sutter). But in the case of Arrieta, it may have been the Orioles themselves that keep Arrieta from succeeding.
When Arrieta was working his way through the system in Baltimore, there was a philosophy going on that wanted their pitchers to conform to certain mechanics. It was thought by many, not just the Orioles, that getting their pitchers to all throw with perfect mechanics it would prevent arm injuries in the future. This philosophy may have help some but in the case of Arrieta, it hurt.
Arrieta was a guy that threw against his body and thus put a lot of stress on his arm. It gave him lots of deception to hitters but it also increased the risk of injury. Baltimore weighed the risks and stressed to Arrieta that he needed to adopt the new mechanics to save his career. Some guys can adopt to these changes quickly because the changes are somewhat minor. In Arrieta’s case is was not minor. It was totally foreign and would need a whole lot more time to fully develop.
Enter the infamous trade to the Cubs. By the time the Cubs acquired Jake, his head was spinning with little voices from every angle telling him what he needed to do. The Cubs gave him a direct order. Forget everything he was told and just go do what you do. He was sent to Iowa to get back to the guy that was drafted back in 2007. Six years had now passed! It was a huge gamble on the Cubs part.
But Jake was open to the change and had a wildcard in hand. It was his tremendous workout regime that has become well known by now. Stephen A Smith talked about his innings. He stated the 51.2 innings in 2013. But Smith doesn’t report about the time at Iowa with the Cubs that Arrieta used to figure things out.
Smith then talked about the 2014 season were Jake only threw 156.2 innings. Ok great, but isn’t this an acceptable increase for a guy if he were considered a prospect going into his first full season? We would have to still consider Arrieta a prospect at this time because he was now throwing like he was back in 2007 when he was first drafted. He was in essence a guy that took 7 years to develop into a major league pitcher that was going to stick as a starter. Not really unusual when you look at developmental time for pitchers.
Smith also made reference to how Arrieta has never seemed to break down even when throwing 229 innings in 2015. This is simply false! Jake looked tired an worn down at the end of the playoffs last year. Jake said as much himself shortly after the playoffs were over and once again told the media how he just got tired at the end of the playoffs. This was ignored by Stephen A Smith as well as other reporters.
It’s easy to just assume PED’s had something to do with anyone’s success. It’s 2016 and fans are so tired of hearing guys telling us how they are clean while waving their finger at the accusers. But some folks also just look at the back of a baseball card for their evidence. Both ideas lead to assumptions that are not always correct. When examining this type of success, we really need all the facts.
Jake himself has been trying to tell us what he has done. Can it be? Is eating right and working out like a machine be the true formula for success? Well knowing that Arrieta gets tested regularly and randomly, maybe the “old school” way is working again.