Pondering Jake Arrieta's future

Here is an interesting question.

Are the Orioles open to using Jake Arrieta in the bullpen in Baltimore?

Don't take it to the bank that it could be the O's plan for the hard-throwing right-hander, but Dave Trembley at least opened the door to that possibility today.

There was a time many years ago that pitchers like Mike Flanagan and Scott McGregor came to the Majors and learned the ropes out of the bullpen first, before gaining a starting berth.

In talking with the skipper today about Arrieta, I asked him if the days of pitchers coming to the Majors in the bullpen role first were over for good?

"I don't think they are. Kranny and I talked about that after the game (last night) about a couple of different guys that are down there. They could be (bullpen guys first in the Majors), but what does that do for their development?

"I think if a guy is fully developed, if he's as good as he is going to get, but there is just not a slot for him as a starter, okay you start looking at maybe you could put him in the bullpen.

"But if there are still things he needs to get better at and learn. No, don't do that yet, let him keep starting every fifth day and wait until he is more of a finished product first."

Arrieta has been outstanding so far at Norfolk, going 2-1, 1.16 in five starts. He leads the International League in ERA and in opponent batting average among starting pitchers at .171. He has fanned 27 in 31 innings.

"He's got everything you are looking for in a Major League pitcher," Trembley said. "It's only a matter of time before he'll be in the big leagues. When that will be, I couldn't tell you. But it's only a matter of time. I'm not saying it will be next week or next month, but he'll let everybody know.

"When guys that have that much ability pitch, there are people that watch them pitch. I mean the front office people, scouting people, our pro scouts. They all go and watch. Because everyone knows there is such a need at the Major League level for quality pitching."

Trembley said his bullpen coach, Alan Dunn, has a conference call every Thursday with Norfolk pitching coach Mike Griffin and O's minor league pitching co-ordinater Dave Schmidt. They go over some of the pitchers on the farm and Trembley gets a full written report.

Must be some good reading right now about Arrieta.

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