As was covered here previously, two former Baltimore Orioles will be in the World Series for Chicago tonight: Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop. For this purposes of this article, I’m going to focus more on Arrieta, mainly because he’s a starting pitcher. However also keep in mind that the Orioles drafted him, brought him through their system, and he began his big league career with the Birds.
Arrieta of course was traded in 2013 to Chicago for veteran Scott Feldman, who of course finished out the year with the Birds and then moved on. Arrieta since then has seen his career take off – and big time at that. Not only has he thrown two no-hitters since then, however he’s just been plain outstanding on the north side of Chicago. A lot of fans point to this as a reason to say that the Orioles have a poor organizational direction, among other things.
But is this fair? Arrieta had basically accomplished everything that he was going to accomplish in Baltimore. In fact, his departure was widely applauded by a great many Orioles fans. In effect, he’s what you call a classic change of air type of guy.
Many folks try to argue that Arrieta wasn’t allowed to pitch the way he truly wanted to pitch in Baltimore. However that’s incorrect; why would the Orioles truly be opposed to him using his most effective pitches? In reality, Arrieta’s issues began well before the current regime was in Baltimore. He rode the “Norfolk shuttle” far too often, and would get sent down and called back up almost weekly for a time. That seemingly continued even when the likes of Showalter arrived, however with the urgency to win today that couldn’t be helped.
So I suspect that when he went to Chicago, he got the same message(s), but delivered in a different manner and by different people. However again, many people will point to the fact that Arrieta is on a World Series team and say that obviously the Orioles are doing something wrong. Unfortunately folks, that’s just how the game works sometimes – for better or for worse.
I throw in that line, for better or for worse, for a reason. Do you think that Texas would have traded Chris Davis had they known what he would turn into? Could you imagine Davis playing in a bandbox like Texas 81 games a year? Sometimes these trades work out, and sometimes they don’t. Yet do people complain that Texas’ philosophy had to have thus been flawed?
The same is true with Mark Trumbo. What was Seattle thinking when they basically gave him to the Orioles? (In return for what amounted to a triple-A catcher…who later ended up getting suspended for twitter comments.) Point here is that you really have to have a narrow view of things if you’re going to say that the Orioles have a poor organization squarely because of the Arrieta trade. Sometimes these things work out, and sometimes they don’t.