Chicago Cubs: History made – negotiations begin
That year undoubtedly marked the high-water mark for the right-hander. And, really, that shouldn’t shock anyone. Statistically speaking, it’s damn-near impossible to get any better than Arrieta was down the stretch in 2015.
He carried that dominance into the early going in 2016, not losing his first decision until June that year, playing an integral part in the Cubs snapping a 108-year championship drought in dramatic fashion.
His tenure on the North Side drew to a close to a standing ovation as he departed Game 4 of the National League Championship Series after tossing 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball in a must-win game. The bearded hurler walked off the mound with everyone feeling like it was the end of an era – which, ultimately, proved to be the case.
After turning down reported take it or leave it six-year, $100 million offer from the Cubs, Arrieta wound up joining the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2017-18 offseason, eventually settling for a three-year, $75 million deal with team options for 2021 and 2022. Chicago, of course, took that money and turned to the other premier free agent hurler on the market, Yu Darvish, inking the Japanese-born pitcher to a six-year, $126 million contract.