Former Chicago Cubs hurler Jake Arrieta may be done for the season

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

2015 National League Cy Young Award winner and former Chicago Cubs ace Jake Arrieta has pitched through an elbow issue all year that may require surgery.

When the Chicago Cubs failed to re-sign Jake Arrieta prior to the 2018 campaign, fans were ready to call for the heads of Theo Epstein and Tom Ricketts. That anger climbed to a palatable level when his replacement, Yu Darvish, made just eight starts before being shut down for the year.

But with Darvish seemingly turning the corner and rectifying his control issues, that anger has largely subsided. Paired with the latest news coming out of Philadelphia concerning Jake Arrieta, it’s looking more and more like the Cubs made the right call.

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All season long, the right-hander has been pitching through a bone spur in his right elbow, hoping to delay any procedure until the offseason. But after his latest outing, a five-run, three-inning effort, the 33-year-old admitted that may not be possible.

"“Yeah, it hurts every day,” Arrieta told NBC Sports Philadelphia. “Today, I lacked the ability to throw any off-speed stuff with effectiveness and they made me pay for it."

On the year, Arrieta sports an unsightly 4.64 ERA, 4.89 FIP and 1.410 FIP across 135 2/3 innings of work for the fourth-place Phils. Signed to be the ace of the Philadelphia staff, the righty hasn’t delivered – especially when you take his contract into account.

After deciding to pitch through the pain, he was decidedly less adamant about his course of action after Sunday’s start.

"“I don’t necessarily want to make a decision right now,” he said. “We’ll have the off-day Monday and maybe have a conversation on Tuesday.”"

At this point, the Phillies’ only real hope is to capture a Wild Card berth in the National League. Knowing that – and given how top-heavy the league is – shelving Arrieta for the rest of the year and giving him a chance to pitch healthy in the final season of his deal may be the team’s best bet moving forward.

It’s tough to see, really. Arrieta holds a special place in my heart. Aside from the late, great Ron Santo, he’s probably my favorite player in Cubs history. What he meant to the club as they went from Lovable Losers to perennial favorites and eventual World Series champions can scarcely be put into words.

Of course, his second-half run in 2015 en route to NL Cy Young honors can only be called historic. He hurled a career-high 229  innings for Chicago, leading the league with 22 wins, four complete games and three shutouts.

After the All-Star Break, he kicked it up a notch, pitching to a 0.75 ERA in 15 starts – losing only once in that span. Simply put, it was one of the most remarkable single-player performances I’ve seen in my life.

While he wasn’t quite the same in his final two years with the Cubs, he still played an integral role in the rotation. He fell just short of the 200-inning mark in 2016, winning 18 games and coming up clutch in the postseason. After a fairly pedestrian 2017, of course, the team chose to part ways with Arrieta, setting him up for his eventual signing with the Phillies.

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So here’s to hoping Arrieta plots a course of action with Philadelphia and we see him back competing at a high level soon. Granted, he plays against the Cubs pretty regularly, but you hate to see a guy suffer like this – especially one who played such a critical role in Chicago baseball history.