Phillies: Jake Arrieta returns to Cubs on 1-year deal

Jake Arrieta #49, formerly of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Jake Arrieta #49, formerly of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

As the Philadelphia Phillies reunite with utility player Brad Miller, another reunion is happening in the National League Central as it relates to one of the club’s former starting pitchers from the 2018-20 seasons.

Right-hander Jake Arrieta and the Chicago Cubs have agreed to a one-year deal, pending a physical, according to the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

Former Phillies starting pitcher Jake Arrieta returns to the Cubs on a 1-year deal.

The 11-year veteran reportedly had higher offers elsewhere, but “loved the idea” of a Cubs reunion and pursued it. NBC Sports Chicago insider Gordon Wittenmyer reports Arrieta will earn in the $6.5 million and $7 million range.

Through 64 starts with the Phillies, Arrieta posted a disappointing 22-23 record, 4.36 ERA, 1.387 WHIP, and 280-124 strikeouts-to-walks ratio spanning 352 2/3 innings. Despite more letdown performances than not across his three-year, $75 million contract, the Phillies still did their due diligence by attending Arrieta’s recent showcase in Texas.

Arrieta returns to the team with whom he won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award and a World Series championship the following season. During this time, Arrieta was perhaps the most dominant starting pitcher in baseball.

As Ryan Spaeder notes, he maintained an ERA less than 1.00 over a 29-start stretch from June 21, 2015 to May 20, 2016 — going 24-1 with two no-hitters. Arrieta’s only loss was July 25, 2015, when outgoing Phillies starter Cole Hamels tossed a no-hitter in his final start in red pinstripes before being traded to the Texas Rangers.

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Similar to his recent seasons donning red pinstripes, Arrieta will likely slot into the middle of the Cubs rotation, behind what is expected to include Kyle Hendricks and Zach Davies. With the Phillies, right-hander Zach Eflin has assumed the No. 3 spot left vacant by Arrieta — slotted behind Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler.

In recent weeks the Phils added depth and essentially replaced Arrieta with two veteran arms on big-league deals, left-hander Chase Anderson and right-hander Matt Moore. Also, Spencer Howard and Vince Velasquez will likewise vie for back-end spots. The Phillies rotation is far from certain and a lot is still to be worked out in spring training.

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