Chicago Cubs beat writer, Carrie Muskat tweeted this morning that Cubs have no plans to shut down, starting pitcher, Jake Arrieta and that Rick Renteria expects his 28 year old ace to finish the season as scheduled. This shouldn’t be news to anyone, seeing as how Arrieta has been healthy and dominant since coming off the disabled list earlier this season, but it begs the question: why would anyone consider shutting Jake Arrieta down?
1) His innings total is creeping towards his career-high
So far this year, Jake Arrieta has thrown 117.1 innings, just a few outs shy of the career high (119.1 IP) that he set back in 2011 with the Baltimore Orioles. In recent years there has been research done that suggests that pitchers should not throw more than 200 innings before the age of 25 but neither one of these factors applies here. Even if we include his innings for the Iowa Cubs, Arrieta is only up to 137.1 innings on the summer and at 28 years old he is in the prime of his career and now is the time to squeeze as many innings out of him as possible.
2) Injury Concerns
Jake Arrieta’s 6.2 innings per start are the highest of his career and given his injury history, it’s not unreasonable to be concerned about the wear-and-tear on his arm. However, since making his 2014 debut on May third against the St. Louis Cardinals, Jake Arrieta has been completely injury free and there is no reason to suggest otherwise.
3) Protecting their Ace
Along the lines of point #2; now that Jake Arrieta has proven to be the Chicago Cubs ace, it would be wise to make sure he is in the best position possible to lead this staff going forward. And particularly where the Cubs’ playoff hopes went out the window months ago, there isn’t really much of an on-the-field benefit for marching him out there and risking injury. This theory is also garbage. Shutting Jake Arrieta down would be an obvious and official wave of the white flag to the Cubs’ fan base, as well as their clubhouse. Nothing kills a team like blatant signs of giving up from management. Additionally, treating pitchers like china-dolls usually results in them being more fragile anyway (exhibit 1. Joba Chamberlain). The Cubs are going to march Jake Arrieta out there every fifth day because that is what he is being paid to do and that’s what his teammates and the City of Chicago expect.
There are some reasonable arguments for shutting Jake Arrieta down early but none of them are true. On the whole, it’s not logical to do it and Rick Renteria said it himself, he expects Arrieta to finish the season.
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