Welcome Back, Jake Arrieta
The Chicago Cubs and free-agent pitcher Jake Arrieta have reportedly agreed to a one-year deal worth $6 million. Arrieta is one of the most popular pitchers in Cubs history and was also the most dominant for a long stretch.
This move does not make the Cubs the favorites to win the World Series, or even the National League Central Division, but this is a great move for Cubs fans. There was simply no better feeling than watching Arrieta carve up the National League during the second half of 2015 and the beginning of 2016.
Arrieta is returning to the Cubs after three pretty rough years with the Philadelphia Phillies, and fans should not expect the same dominant pitcher they once knew. This is simply a chance to bring in a solid veteran at the back end of the rotation, and Arrieta will have a chance to find the magic once again.
On the actual baseball side of things, this is just a small move that could help the Cubs compete in 2021. This is a huge sentimental signing, and there were plenty of Cubs fans celebrating the announcement when it was made.
Jake Arrieta Is a Cubs Legend
The Cubs were able to acquire Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop in a deal with the Baltimore Orioles, and it ended up playing a huge role in the 2016 World Series championship. No one could have envisioned what Arrieta would turn into with the Cubs, but it didn’t take long to see that he was going to be a permanent fixture in the starting rotation.
Arrieta routinely flirted with no-hit bids during the 2014 season, and that trend continued into the start of 2015. After the All-Star break in 2015, Arrieta turned into one of Major League Baseball history’s best pitchers.
I don’t want to bore you with stats, but you should definitely take a look at some of the numbers that Arrieta posted during that run. The Cubs just one of Arrieta’s starts during the second half of that year, and they were no-hit in that game.
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Arrieta threw a no-hitter that season against the Los Angeles Dodgers and followed that up with a no-hitter early in 2016. He simply refused to give up any runs in 2015 en route to winning the Cy Young Award.
His biggest moment came in the 2015 National League Wild Card Game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. All he did that night was throw a complete game shutout, propelling the Cubs into the National League Division Series.
Arrieta was an absolute warrior with the Cubs during his first stint, and he should still bring that mentality this time around. No matter how this signing turns out, Cubs fans are simply glad to have one of their heroes back.
Can Cubs Compete?
After trading Yu Darvish and letting Kyle Schwarber and Jon Lester leave in free agency, most expected the Cubs would begin a long and difficult rebuild. GM Jed Hoyer also seemed content with slashing payroll and trying to stockpile as much young talent as possible.
It seems as if Hoyer and Ricketts see an opening to win the NL Central and are back to spending money. Beyond the signing of Arrieta, the Cubs also landed Joc Pederson in free agency and have made some solid moves in the bullpen.
The Cardinals are now the clear favorites to win the NL Central after acquiring Nolan Arenado, but the Cubs are not that far behind. The Cubs still have some talented pieces in that offensive lineup, and the core will appear to get one more chance to make a run this season.
Bringing Jake Arrieta back should give Cubs fans some hope, even if he isn’t going to be the staff’s ace. It has been a rough offseason for the Cubs and their fans, but perhaps the regular season won’t be as bad as what was once thought.
One way or another, we will find out soon. Pitchers and catchers report this week.