Buck Showalter 'proud' of Jake Arrieta's resurgence with Cubs

Buck Showalter 'proud' of Jake Arrieta's resurgence with Cubs
August 22, 2014, 2:30 pm
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Tony Andracki

At this point, it's safe to say the change of scenery is what Jake Arrieta needed.

Arrieta, the former top prospect in the Orioles system, never found consistency in Baltimore, posting a 5.46 ERA through parts of four seasons in the majors.

But since joining the Cubs following an early-July trade in 2013, Arrieta is 10-6 with a 2.93 ERA in 28 starts and has developed into a top-of-the-rotation starter and a core piece for the Cubs moving forward.

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The Cubs used three good months of veteran pitcher Scott Feldman last year to net two pieces of their current pitching staff in Arrieta and setup guy Pedro Strop.

Arrieta got his shot to showcase his stuff against his old team Friday at Wrigley Field. His former manager, Buck Showalter, broke down the Cubs-Orioles deal 13 months later.

"I'm real proud of [Arrieta]," Showalter, a two-time AL manager of the year, said. "I pull for him every day. When I look at the Cubs, I want to see him do well. Maybe not today...

"It was a good trade. It worked out for both of us. They gave us [Steve] Clevenger, who is still a really good left-handed hitting catching option for us. [Scott] Feldman filled a big need for us. ... You try to be fair. You give up quality for quality."

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Arrieta was ranked as high as the No. 67 prospect in the game before the 2009 season according to Baseball America and had some dominating seasons in the Orioles system. But his 3.18 career minor-league ERA never translated to the majors and Baltimore ran out of patience.

After a stint in Triple-A following the trade, Arrieta was solid down the stretch for the Cubs, going 4-2 with a 3.66 ERA in nine starts.

The 28-year-old righty got off to a slow start in 2014 after a shoulder injury in spring training, but has been one of MLB's best pitchers since returning, posting a 2.61 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 9.4 K/9 in 19 starts.

"Sometimes, the change of scenery and change of atmosphere [helps]," Showalter said. "Anytime you get a guy that's kinda getting back to going again with that type of ability, you hope you can put him in a position where they can succeed.

"At the time, I told Jake and Pedro, 'This is a great move for both you guys.' They did some great things for us and we're very appreciative of it. They handled themselves very professionally, good teammates and the Cubs are going to like them for a long while. I'm happy for them."