Now, it’s Jake Arrieta’s turn as trade bait

Now, it’s Jake Arrieta’s turn as trade bait

Successful veteran starter fits Cubs’ pattern of moving best pitchers for prospects before deadline


St Louis Cardinals v Chicago Cubs

Jake Arrieta pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals. (David Banks / Getty Images / July 26, 2014)

Whenever an experienced Cubs pitcher enjoys sustained success, it seems he becomes more likely to be traded for young prospects.

Jake Arrieta did not have his best outing Saturday, but he has fallen into that category with his 5-2 record and 2.18 ERA. In the 6-3 loss to the Cardinals he tossed his ninth straight quality start while getting a no-decision.

“I don’t really think about that (trade possibility),” manager Rick Renteria said. “We are very happy that he has been throwing well. … Fortunately for us he’s here (now).”

Rest easy: Reliever Neil Ramirez has been sent to Triple-A Iowa to rest his arm. Right-hander Blake Parker was recalled to replace him and tossed two scoreless innings Saturday.

“We’re just going to give (Ramirez) a blow, that’s all this is,” Renteria said. “We have been using everybody (in the bullpen) extensively. We want to have the opportunity and the ability to be able to give them a break during the course of the season.”

Ramirez has an ERA of 0.96, which is the lowest among rookie pitchers with at least 25 innings this season.

Renteria said Ramirez will take a few days off at Iowa and do limited throwing on the side.

“This is not a performance-based issue,” he said.

Interchangeable parts: Renteria has been able to deploy rookie Arismendy Alcantara and veteran Emilio Bonifacio between center field and second base. Alcantara started in center Saturday and Bonifacio at second.

“We already know (Bonifacio) can play center,” Renteria said. “Mendy is a guy who has only played in the minor leagues, I think 10 or 11 games, in center field. So this is how we’re going to find out how and what he needs to develop in (center). He looks really good out there. He looks very fluid and his arm plays well out there also.”

Short story: From an offensive standpoint, the Cubs appear to be loaded with talented young shortstops in their farm system with the likes of Javier Baez and Addison Russell. And 24-year-old Starlin Castro is already a big league All-Star.

“All of the positions have become positions of offense. (But) it is always important that the middle infielders are able to defend,” Renteria said. “I don’t think that’s ever going to change. But if you have a guy who can catch the ball and swing the bat, it’s pretty nice. We have a lot of guys who can play short and swing the bat.

“From a developmental standpoint, from a scouting standpoint, you can take middle infielders and typically they are very athletic so you can do a lot of things with them.”

Extra innings: Castro has reached base in 35 of his last 39 games. … Bonifacio has a team-high 14 stolen bases. … Ryan Sweeney has homered in back-to-back games. … Saturday’s attendance of 41,927 topped Friday’s total by 398 for the highest this season at Wrigley.


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