Chicago Cubs: A farewell and thank you to Jake Arrieta

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 18: Jake Arrieta
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 18: Jake Arrieta /

The signing of Yu Darvish sealed the fate of the Chicago Cubs’ starting rotation. In other words, it is now certain that Jake Arrieta will pitch in another uniform in 2018. Now fans can say goodbye and thank him for the memories.

The Chicago Cubs made a huge move Saturday in signing Yu Darvish to a six-year deal. This buried any remote possibility that Jake Arrieta was going to re-sign with the team.

Jon Heyman reported the Cubs reached out to Arrieta right before reaching an agreement with Darvish. But, clearly, the two sides weren’t close on terms of a potential deal.

So now, fans will see what his ultimate fate is. Right now, we just know it will not be in a Cubs uniform. With the Arrieta era ending, it is time to reflect on what he did in a four-and-a-half year span in Chicago. No Cubs fan who watched him from 2014 to 2016 will forget the dominant run he had. Him coming up big in both the regular season and playoffs was a huge factor in the Cubs finally winning a World Series.

There are a number of destinations that Arrieta can choose. He may even be pursued by the Cardinals or Brewers. No matter where he goes, Cubs fans should always be grateful for what he did.

Reflecting on the highlights Arrieta’s Cubs career.

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July 2, 2013.

The Baltimore Orioles trade Arrieta and Pedro Strop to the Cubs for Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger. At the time, it did not seem overly significant. Some were upset because Feldman was having a solid year with the Cubs, 3.46 ERA/1.140 WHIP in 91 innings, while Arrieta was struggling in Baltimore.

After some tuning in the minors and working with Chris Bosio, he made his Cubs debut on July 30. He pitched six innings of two-hit ball, only giving up one run. Arrieta totaled a 3.66 ERA and 1.120 WHIP in 51 2/3 innings in as a Cub in 2013. 2014 began his dominant run. He pitched to a 2.53 ERA, 2.26 FIP and 0.990 WHIP that year. Probably his best moment of 2014 was coming just  four outs short of history in Boston on June 30.

A second half for the history books

Enter 2015, his Cy Young season. Though an All-Star snub in July, he got the last laugh. In the second half alone, he pitched in 107 1/3 of his total 229 innings and put up a 0.75 ERA, 2.00 FIP, 0.730 WHIP and gave up just two homers. The Cubs reached the postseason and Arrieta pitched a complete game shutout against the Pirates in the Wild Card game. His 2015 season totals included a 1.77 ERA, 2.35 FIP, 0.86 WHIP, 27.1 strikeout rate and a 7.3 fWAR.

While his 2016 had a few issues with walks (his walk rate increased 4.1 percent), he still had a good season. Arrieta totaled a 3.10 ERA, 3.52 FIP and 1.080 WHIP in 197 1/3 innings. However, the real story was his World Series performance. He came up big in his two Fall Classic starts putting up a 2.38 ERA against the Indians. His efforts helped get the Cubs their first title since 1908.

Saying goodbye and thanks.

Totaling what he did all together as a Cub (2013-2017), he went 68-31 with a 2.73 ERA, 1.030 WHIP, 3.16 FIP, 793 strikeouts and 19.9 bWAR in 803 innings. That’s not to mention a 3.08 career postseason ERA in nine starts from 2015 to 2017. Also add the accomplishment of two no-hitters, one in August 2015 in Los Angeles and the other in Cincinnati in April 2016. Oh, and the 2016 World Series ring looks good on him.

Anyone on the 2016 team will be forever a hero in Cubs’ fans minds, but Arrieta is one that stands among the top. Not just for 2016, but what he did in the resurrection of the team and bringing it to glory. The excitement of a Jake Arrieta start always buzzed amongst the fans, and even though there was a decline in 2017, it was still fun to watch him when he was on his game.

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So a personal message to Jake Arrieta. Thank you for the entertainment and joy you brought Cubs fans. 2015 had some of my favorite Cubs memories and watching the Cy Young-winning Arrieta every fifth day was something I would do my absolute hardest not to miss. I will never forget cheering loud for every strikeout and clapping for every win. You will be a Cub in my mind forever.

Goodbye Jake. Good luck and thank you.