Cubs: Who will be better in 2021 – Jake Arrieta or Yu Darvish?

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
2 of 3
Jake Arrieta / Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

Cubs fans weren’t happy then and they’re not happy now

Most fans were fairly annoyed, especially given the fact that… well… Arrieta was basically Superman; and, Darvish, well… he was looking like anything but that after getting rocked by the Astros a couple months prior. Both guys were 30 years old and looking for big-time money; Darvish got it from the Cubs and Arrieta got some of it from the Phillies very late into Spring Training that year.

More from Cubbies Crib

Now, it seems, fate has drawn these two back together again for a reversal of rides as Arrieta rejoins the Cubs on the heels of a Darvish exit to San Diego via trade. Oh, and guess what: fans aren’t very happy about letting go of Darvish this time, although they might be a bit more excited with the Arrieta reunion if only because of the bad vibes emanating from Clark and Addison for most of the offseason (they might still be reverberating, actually).

Under different circumstances, the Arrieta signing would look tremendous and there’s a chance he might be a great value as a one-year addition to this 2021 team and rotation. The only problem is, instead of coming in as the number three guy behind some combination of Yu Darvish and Kyle Hendricks, he’s essentially filling the “two” role behind the now clear ace of the staff, the ever stoic and professorial Hendricks. What could have been a best-in-division rotation of Darvish, Hendricks, Arrieta, Alec Mills, and Adbert Alzolay now features one fewer ace in the hole.

While it’s clear the Cubs 2021 rotation would indubitably be better and deeper with Darvish still on the team, maybe there’s the chance that Arrieta coming to Chicago after a few inconsistent years in Philadelphia could produce the same career renaissance as his original arrival from Baltimore in 2013. If the Cubs and Arrieta can catch lightning in a bottle a second time thanks to some minor tweaks and the comfortable Wrigley Field/Chicago digs, maybe they won’t miss Darvish quite so much.