Long-term risk? Jake Arrieta sees long-term reward in his regimen
MESA, Ariz. — Forget agent Scott Boras’ comparisons to megabucks pitcher Max Scherzer when he makes the case for client Jake Arrieta’s value and bullish actuarial estimates of his career.
As far as Arrieta is concerned, nobody has to look more than a few lockers away in the Cubs’ clubhouse for a good reason to bet on him to pitch at a high level for the rest of the career.
‘‘Look at [John] Lackey, man,’’ Arrieta said of his 38-year-old teammate. ‘‘He says he’s going to retire at the end of this year, but watch him throw. He’s healthy. He’s got velocity. He knows how to pitch. He’s got great command. If he wanted to, he could probably pitch another three years.
‘‘Look at [Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander] Rich Hill, who just signed a three-year deal. He’s going to pitch until he’s 40. If I want to, I think I’ll still be able to.’’
Arrieta, 31, isn’t saying he wants to pitch that long. But the 2015 National League Cy Young Award winner, who is among the best-conditioned players in the game, clearly doesn’t think the seven-year deal Scherzer got from the Washington Nationals two years ago would present the kind of risk with him that it might with others his age.
‘‘That’s kind of why I do what I do in between starts and the offseason, the way I train, the way I eat,’’ said Arrieta, who does yoga and Pilates and loads up on vegetables, including kale. ‘‘It’s not only for baseball; it’s for my family, my kids. I want to be healthy and active, to be able to do things with them until I’m not moving and in my recliner for good, when I’m 85 or whatever.
‘‘It’s just part of my lifestyle, and it plays a huge role in my profession. That’s something that won’t change. And I’m always looking for new stuff, any information that’s accurate that would benefit me or my teammates.’’
Arrieta spoke after pitching five efficient innings Friday against a group of Class AAA players from the Angels’ organization. He has two starts left this spring before his first start in what’s expected to be his final season with the Cubs.
The Cubs haven’t shown the appetite to commit to the number of years Arrieta expects to command as a free agent, a position that hasn’t changed in the last two years.
‘‘That’s OK,’’ he said. ‘‘It would be cool, for sure [to sign a long-term deal with the Cubs]. But the business is the business. They’re not dummies. There’s rhyme and reason for why they make the moves they do. They have to put what they feel is the team’s best interest and the organization’s best interest first. I would do the same thing.
‘‘Something could come up. Something might not come up. Both are OK.’’
NOTE: Top prospect Eloy Jimenez was among seven players cut from big-league camp, though not before making a strong impression on manager Joe Maddon.
‘‘What he showed to me is a tremendous understanding of his swing as a 20-year-old,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘He stays inside the ball as well as the most seasoned Edgar Martinez did. Or [Detroit Tigers star] Miguel Cabrera. I’m not saying he’s those guys yet; I’m just saying that’s his approach.’’
Jimenez was among three non-roster players assigned to minor-league camp, joining infielder Chesny Young and outfielder Mark Zagunis. Four more were optioned to Class AAA Iowa: right-handers Pierce Johnson and Felix Peña, catcher Victor Caratini and outfielder Jacob Hannemann.
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