clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Jake Arrieta vs. Yu Darvish: Who did you like post-2017? Your answer explains more than just that choice

There’s a deeper issue involved when looking at a decision such as this one.

Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images

One of the trendy Twitter comments is "Never read the comments," as people can wildly miss on content from an article when they respond to a headline. Sometimes they miss after reading the article, and sometimes that's the author's fault. While the headline is about Jake Arrieta and Yu Darvish, they are merely props to a deeper issue, so the comments about "I like Darvish" or "I prefer Arrieta" aren't responding to the article.

After the 2017 campaign, the Cubs had some decisions to make. One was whether they should offer Bryce Harper a long-term deal in his range. A starting pitcher or two would be needed to be added. However, deciding on what to do regarding Jake Arrieta was front-and-center.

Over his time in Chicago, Arrieta was fantastic. To push any other opinion would be absurd. His 2017 was his worst season with the team, but he was still quite good. He wanted to get paid, and eventually signed with the Phillies for more per season than Darvish would sign for with the Cubs, but for far less total money, with a three-year term.

Until about July 2019, people who wanted Arrieta over Darvish were tending to be rather loud about their opinion. Which is fine, if they're honest from the start about why they preferred Arrieta in the first place. He was very popular, and Darvish was smashed in the World Series by an Astros team that has developed a notorious reputation. Have you changed your opinion on which pitcher was the correct signing? If so, why did you change your mind?

As noted, Darvish and Arrieta are props in this exercise. Reasons abound for preferring either. It should be obvious by now that owners very much value wealth retention and bad contracts are a bit uneasy for them to stomach. A bad contract can be traded, but rarely without surrendering something else of great value, or adding another bad contract in return. The "don't discuss contracts like money is important" mindset ought to be in the morgue, as owners and players posture finances.

This article is less about Darvish or Arrieta and far more about decision-making in sports. For some, defending the home team is paramount. For others opposing a menace (either on the home team, or on a rival's payroll) is the go-to. I'm interested in the "why the decision is made" angle. That some people were Arrieta loyalists is fine, and saying that they're an Arrieta loyalist because of 2015 and 2016 gets the point across entirely, whether you lean logic or emotion. Some really didn't like Darvish over his games against the Astros, despite a really good outing against the Cubs just before that. Accurately explaining the reason behind the belief often soothes quite a bit of the disagreement. Do your research. Have a reason. Stick with it. Admit when you screw up a prediction.

On draft night, as the Cubs selection approached, a few others on Twitter had their ideas circulating on who the Cubs should take. My two preferences, as I'd written that morning, were (in order) Garrett Mitchell and Ed Howard. I'm peachy with Howard, but would have gone with Mitchell. I stick to my guns, but am okay with either.

The people on Twitter had some variance on who they wanted: Cade Cavalli from Oklahoma, Tyler Soderstrom (a catcher from high school in California), and a few other names. Howard, for whatever reason, wasn't a hot commodity on Twitter, but Mitchell was. Once the choice was announced, the jury didn't take long to come to a verdict. Completely acceptable. Which leads to a question. Why did the homework that led to a list of names that excluded Howard so promptly get discarded?

Perhaps the homework was crude, and not much effort was put into it. Cool, but if you preferred another guy 15 minutes ago, and you changed your mind (shanging your mind on added information is a completely adult thing to do, and entirely acceptable), why did you change it? Did Cavalli suddenly appear worse? Did you misread the value in Howard? Are you trying to defend the decision by the home team? (I still think Garrett is the marginally better pick, and will likely have a few Brewers games, eventually, to follow him in). Changing your mind is all good, be it Darvish or Howard. All I'd hope for is an honest explanation when you change your mind on why you changed your mind. And then, after awhile, check the comments.