On the heels of a forgettable reunion with the Cubs – and a brief stint in San Diego – last year, former National League Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta is calling it quits, retiring from baseball.
"“I haven’t signed the papers, but I’m done,” Arrieta said on Monday. “It’s time for me to step away from the game. At some point, the uniform goes to somebody else and it’s just my time…”"
Arrieta, who just turned 36 last month, quickly became one of the best pitchers in all of baseball after coming over to the Cubs in one of the most lopsided trades in the history of the game. Chicago netted not only Arrieta, who blossomed into a Cy Young winner and All-Star, but the best reliever in recent memory on the North Side – Pedro Strop.
From 2014 to 2017, the bearded right-hander went 64-29 with a sterling 2.67 ERA for the Cubs – finishing top 10 in NL Cy Young voting annually from 2014 to 2016 – winning the honor in 2015, when he turned in one of the best second halves in baseball history.
Chicago Cubs: Jake Arrieta’s 2015 season is one we’ll never forget
His 22-6 2015 campaign was the stuff of legends. He led the league in wins, games started, complete games and shutouts – and down the stretch, posted an unthinkable 0.75 ERA in 15 starts, allowing just nine earned runs over 107 1/3 innings of work as the Cubs made an unexpected run to the postseason, knocking out the division rival Pirates and Cardinals before falling in the NLCS.
Of course, Arrieta turned in a gem in the NL Wild Card Game in Pittsburgh, tossing a complete game shutout of the Bucs to help Chicago advance. In the World Series, he made a pair of critical starts – and was even out in the bullpen getting loose in Game 7 at one point, ready to do whatever it took to get that ring.
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An elite physical specimen at his prime, he never quite recaptured what he was at his best with the Cubs – spending three years with the Phillies before returning to Chicago last offseason. As I said, it was clear quickly he wasn’t what he once was – and now, he’ll look to a life after baseball.