Jake Arrieta won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award after registering a brilliant 1.77 ERA, 0.865 WHIP, and 236/48 K/BB ratio across 229 regular-season innings. Over his final 12 starts, his ERA was 0.41 and the Cubs went 12-0.
But the 29-year-old right-hander threw just 156 2/3 innings in 2014, and he totaled 248 2/3 innings between the regular season and postseason combined in 2015. That’s a difference of nearly 100 innings, and the Cubs are at least somewhat concerned about the sudden jump in workload.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon told MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat this weekend that Arrieta will be held behind some of the other pitchers in camp as spring training gets underway and that there will be a “proactive” plan to monitor his innings during the regular season. That probably means fewer complete games — Arrieta threw four complete games in 2015, tied for the most in the majors.
Chicago probably has the best position player talent in baseball, but one thing the Cubs lack is high quality pitching depth. Arrieta needs to be protected.