Chicago Cubs: Ranking the greatest players of the decade – #10-1

(Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs: No. 5: Jake Arrieta

We just mentioned Pedro Strop at no. 7 on this list, as he came over in a trade with the Baltimore Orioles in 2013. Here at no. 5, we have the other player that came over in what turned out to be a lopsided trade for the Chicago Cubs in Jake Arrieta.

For whatever reason, Arrieta just couldn’t put it together in Baltimore, but the light turned on as soon as he came to the north side of Chicago. The right-hander made nine starts for the Cubs in 2013 after the trade and posted a solid 3.66 ERA. But in 2014, he really broke through, making 25 starts and posting a 2.53 ERA, good for ninth in NL Cy Young award voting.

Then came 2015. While Arrieta was great in the first half, he had a second half for the ages: In 15 starts, he pitched 107 1/3 innings and gave up just nine earned runs. Overall, he finished with a 1.77 ERA on his way to winning the NL Cy Young award. Arrieta topped that off by pitching a complete game shutout in the NL Wild Card game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Arrieta wasn’t as good the next two years but still was solid, making a combined 61 starts and posting ERAs of 3.10 and 3.53. After the 2017 season, he left as a free agent for the Philadelphia Phillies, his status as a Cubs hero fully intact.