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They feed us the innings, we eat them up!

Yes, Jake Arrieta is still a great pitcher. He won’t win another Cy Young Award this year and one of those reasons is because of how wild he has been. Entering Sunday he leads the league with 15 wild pitches. Arrieta is also near the top in walks allowed this season with 74 free passes issued. On the year he has walked 3.5 batters per 9. Last year he was only walking 1.9 batters per 9.

To expect Arrieta to replicate 2015 is asking too much. However, it’s still surprising to learn how wild he has been consistently throughout the season. It was an issue early on in his career with the Baltimore Orioles and seems to have continued even during his ace days with the Chicago Cubs.

Still very talented, Jake Arrieta has been a lot more wild this season.
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

One of the more alarming statistics from Arrieta this season is the 3.45 FIP. Although he has a credible 2.85 ERA, the poor FIP tells us he has escaped from danger as this statistic is more of a predicted ERA; at least the way I take it.

On the plus side, he has only given up 0.1 more hits per 9 from 5.9 to 6.0 this season. A much more human side of Arrieta, the increase in wild pitches may also have something to do with rookie catcher Willson Contreras (not that I’m blaming him). Still dominant, at least we can rest assured even the greatest of pitchers make mistakes.

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Hopefully you happened to see a few weeks ago when I declared one of my missions this offseason was to really hone in on the idea of the New York Mets acquiring Brian Dozier. The star Minnesota Twins second baseman has been trade fodder since his awesome second half began and the Twins’ terrible winning percentage continued to decline. Obviously plenty of teams would want him, but the Mets may have the best resources to make it happen.

What the Twins want and need is the same: pitching. Their starting staff is made up of mostly veterans or younger players without much of a ceiling. Jose Berrios is really the only true stud pitching prospect who has played in the MLB and it has gone very poorly. This further allows me to narrow down which of the Mets’ pitchers Minnesota may want, leading me to label Steven Matz as the choice.

Would a Steven Matz for Brian Dozier trade work for the New York Mets and Minnesota Twins?
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Trading Matz is not a super popular plan, but let’s remember what the Mets are getting: an elite second baseman with power and speed on a cheap contract. If it costs the Mets a guy who turns 26 next year and hasn’t even started 30 MLB games, I say they should have at it. Matz has been really good in his career thus far. However, the Mets’ offense has not been and with many other pitching options, New York should consider the exchange.

Minus Matz, the Mets still do have Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, and Matt Harvey assuming all stay healthy. Zack Wheeler will also return next year and Bartolo Colon doesn’t look ready to retire. Others like Seth Lugo have pitched well in 2016 and probably deserve an opportunity as the team’s fifth starter. The Mets have the pitching depth right now which affords them more trade options to finally build up the offense.

My big question here is would the Twins need more from the Mets to make it happen? They probably would, but not much. Toss in a mid-level prospect at a position they don’t necessarily need an upgrade at in the near future. Depending on what else teams are offering up for Dozier, I see the Mets having one of the better MLB proven pitchers to spare.

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    Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Unfortunately this Sunday began with the baseball world waking up to the death of Jose Fernandez. The Miami Marlins ace was killed in an early morning boating accident along with two others. Death of a professional athlete while still active is rare. In Fernandez’s case, not only was he still playing, his career had yet to fully begin.

At only 24-years-old, MLB star Jose Fernandez's life was taken Sunday morning in a boating accident.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

What is there to say about Fernandez that we haven’t already all year long? His dominance, the speculation of whether the Marlins would trade him or not, and other stories came up often. He was the only player my fiancée could remember. Fernandez was already an ace in the MLB and this terrible tragedy has put him into a category of “what if” as he looked like someone possibly bound for Cooperstown.

Due to his stardom, familiarity, and talents, MLB players everywhere shared their thoughts and prayers for Fernandez and his family. It’s tough to put into words how you feel when someone, even a stranger, you’ve crossed paths with is no more. One-time enemies, these players did their part today in reminding us that it is all just a game.

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