Chicago Cubs have no choice: it’s time to move on from Jake Arrieta

(Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images) /

On the eight-year anniversary of the lopsided trade that brought Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop to the Chicago Cubs, this is a really difficult topic to write about.

It’s time for the team to sideline the former National League Cy Young winner.

Chicago’s season quite literally hangs in the balance. They enter this weekend’s series against the Cincinnati Reds already 6 1/2 back of the Brewers in the National League Central, are crippled with injuries, and have very little margin for error at this point. With just weeks until the trade deadline, it’s now or never for this team to right the ship.

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With Arrieta on the mound, they can’t hope to do that.

His latest outing, in which he lasted just 1 2/3 against Milwaukee, was just the latest evidence that he’s not only not what he once was – he’s no longer a serviceable big league pitcher. Reporters asked him after the start if he felt his rotation spot was in jeopardy.

"“I really don’t care to think about that,” he replied. “You can ask David if you want to ask David about that.”"

Of course, the relationship between Ross and Arrieta is special. Remember, Ross was the catcher for one of Arrieta’s no-hitters in his first go-round with Chicago and the two were teammates during the 2016 season, when the Cubs ended a 108-year championship drought.

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This year, there’s very little that Ross has been able to control. Injuries continue to pile up, key guys just aren’t performing up to their standards, especially in the last month, and starting pitching has been suspect. But what he can do is have what will undoubtedly be a brutally tough conversation with Arrieta about his role on this team – if he has one at all moving forward.

This isn’t a one or two-start streak. His spin rate is on the decline, which means his curveball, quite literally the only thing he’s kind of  had going for him, likely won’t be a factor for him. His velocity is nowhere near what it used to be and without the offspeed stuff and control, he’s getting torched every time he takes the ball.

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Arrieta will always be beloved and has an everlasting place in Chicago Cubs history. But if this team is serious about trying to turn things around before the deadline at the end of the month, they can no longer afford to give him innings.