Chicago Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta has had a rather poor season, but his own standards. Despite struggles that have included a ridiculous number of home runs his agent believes Arrieta should still be considered one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball. Scott Boras is pushing back against talk that the former Cy Young winner is a shadow of his former self.

The talk of Arrieta losing his mojo is backed up by the very real evidence that the pitcher has seen a drop in his velocity this season. Coupled with accuracy issues that go back to the start of last year and it looks like the Cubs were smart not to give him a massive contract extension before the 2016 or even 2017 season.

The money saved in Chicago when they almost certainly left Arrieta walk is likely why Boras has gone on the offensive.

Jake Arrieta isn’t the only one who isn’t throwing as hard as he used to

In order to defend his client and talk of slipping from elite status, Boras pointed to a number of other top pitchers who aren’t throwing as hard as most teams expect these days. The well-known super-agent pointed to Clayton Kershaw throwing an average of 92.5 mph and Zack Greinke who is throwing around 91.8 mph. Boras also pointed to Max Scherzer who was throwing around 92 mph when he was a free agent.

Arrieta’s agent doesn’t believe the Cubs, or anyone else are making a mistake basing Arrieta’s value based on a “10-start moment” when the former ace has had more than three years of top of the line starts.

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The Chicago Cubs might want to listen to Boras’ defense of Jake Arrieta

When it comes to Boras’ words, its hard to tell how much is a smokescreen and how much is a fan of the game truly seeing something wrong. There is a point in what he said. Kershaw has seen his velocity drop 0.6 mph since 2015 and Greinke has seen his drop even more. The Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher is having a resurgent season after a bad 2016 despite the fact that his velocity has lost 1.4 mph in the last few years.

Scherzer has seen his average velocity go back up, though Boras isn’t lying about it dipping the year he was a free agent. Still, the Cubs believe part of Jake Arrieta’s problems could be the drop in velocity, at least when it comes to the number of home runs he’s surrendered. His manager appears to be the one driving that narrative. Unless something more definitive comes along to explain the pitcher’s struggles, it doesn’t seem like many others are going to agree he’s still elite.