The Chicago Cubs released Jake Arrieta, the ace of their staff, on Wednesday.
Jake Arrieta’s second stint with the Chicago Cubs ended with a release. The team has been struggling and needed to make room for other players.
CHICAGO (WLS) — One day after giving up seven runs and eight hits in the first inning of a 10-0 defeat to the Milwaukee Brewers, the Cubs put right-hander Jake Arrieta on unconditional release waivers.
“He was having trouble,” said Jed Hoyer, president of baseball operations. “Not delving too far into the beginnings. We’ve been patient and tried to push through, hoping that he’d come out on the other side and pitch better. We were not present.”
In his second tenure with the Cubs, Arrieta is 5-11 with a 6.88 ERA. He previously pitched with them from 2013 to 2017, earning the Cy Young Award in 2015 and assisting Chicago in winning the World Series in 2016. However, his ERA has risen for six consecutive seasons, three of which he spent with the Philadelphia Phillies.
“His stuff was a bit crisper early in the season,” Hoyer said. “Over time, things slowed down a little, whether it was due to injury, age, or anything else, but he tried all he could to achieve.”
Arrieta’s ERA was 9.00 from May 19 until his departure. His start against the Brewers on Wednesday wasn’t even his worst of the season. That happened on June 30 in Milwaukee, after the Brewers had taken a 7-0 lead in the first inning. The Brewers scored 15 unanswered runs in a victory that may influence the Cubs’ decision to remove rather than add at the trade deadline. Arrieta lasted just 123 innings.
Hoyer opted to focus on the wonderful moments he had with Arrieta, when the latter was as dominating as any pitcher in baseball. The year he won the Cy Young Award, he was 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA.
“Nothing that occurred on the pitch last night or previous nights lessens his importance to the team,” Hoyer said. “You might argue that he’s one of the franchise’s most influential figures.”
Arrieta reunited with David Ross, who caught Arrieta’s second no-hitter and guided Chicago to the NL Central title last year in his first season as manager, by returning to the Cubs this season. The choice to release Arrieta, according to Ross, was difficult.
“For me, you despise that one on so many levels,” Ross remarked. “I owe a lot of gratitude to a buddy and a man who has given me so much. It’s simply revolting. I try to forget about last night and focus on what he’s accomplished for this franchise and how consistent he’s been throughout my tenure on his team in 2015 and 2016.”
Arrieta had agreed to a one-year, $6 million contract with the Cubs in 2021.
Willson Contreras, the Cubs’ catcher, was also put on the 10-day disabled list with a right knee issue that deteriorated during blocking exercises. To replace Contreras and Arrieta on the roster, the club brought up pitcher Ryan Meisinger and catcher Austin Romine from Triple-A Iowa. Kyle Ryan, a left-handed pitcher, was also assigned to the bullpen.
Since the All-Star break, when Anthony Rizzo, Javy Baez, and Kris Bryant were moved, Chicago has dropped seven straight games and is 2-13. The Cubs struck out 10 batters in a row against Brewers starter Corbin Burnes on Wednesday, tying a major league record. This version of the Cubs, according to Hoyer, will not be the club that starts next season.
“I don’t believe you can link what occurs here in the next two months with what will happen in the future,” he added. “Right now, we’re a little short-handed since we traded a lot of players.”
This article was written with the help of the Associated Press.
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