Cubs release Jake Arrieta after former Cy Young winner struggles mightily in second Chicago stint

by Ryan


The Chicago Cubs on Thursday placed veteran right-hander Jake Arrieta on unconditional release waivers, which means his second stint with the team is at an end. Arrieta, 35, has struggled badly in 2021. In 20 starts this season, he’s pitched to a 6.88 ERA with 74 strikeouts and 39 walks in 86 1/3 innings. 

Through his first five starts of the season, Arrieta boasted a 2.57 ERA with almost a strikeout per inning and looked like he might be in the early stages of a renaissance campaign. Since that point, however, he’s allowed 67 runs and 91 hits in 58 1/3 innings while averaging less than four innings per start. Over that span opposing hitters have batted .355/.421/.645 against him. The final straw for the club was Arrieta’s Wednesday night start, in which he allowed eight runs in four innings against the Brewers

Arrieta, however, will remain a franchise legend for the Cubs. After being acquired from the Orioles in 2013, Arrieta on the Cubs’ watch retooled his repertoire and became an ace. He peaked in 2015 when he won the NL Cy Young Award and was essential to the Cubs’ drought-ending World Series triumph in 2016. 

Following the 2017 season, he signed a $75 million free-agent contract with the Phillies and generally failed to live up to expectations. This past offseason, the Cubs signed him to a one-year pact worth $4 million that included an option for 2022. Arrieta will be owed a $2 million buyout for 2022. 

If this does indeed mark the end of Arrieta’s MLB career, then he’ll walk away with a record of 115-90, an ERA+ of 105, a WAR of 22.0, one All-Star appearance, and, as noted, one Cy Young award. 

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