Cubs interested in reunion with former ace Arrieta originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Party like it's 2016?
ESPN's Jesse Rogers reported Friday the Cubs are interested in a reunion with starting pitcher Jake Arrieta.
Arrieta, 35 in March, is a free agent this winter following three seasons with the Phillies. Of course, his tenure in Philadelphia followed a successful five-year stint on the North Side, where he helped the Cubs make three postseason appearances and win the 2016 World Series.
Arrieta posted a 2.73 ERA as a Cub from 2013-17, throwing two no-hitters while winning the 2015 NL Cy Young Award. He left as a free agent during the 2017-18 offseason, when the Cubs signed Yu Darvish to a six-year deal.
Arrieta landed a lucrative deal with the Phillies but had an up-and-down tenure out east. In three seasons, he turned in a 4.36 ERA and 1.387 WHIP in 64 starts, averaging under six innings per outing. The right-hander dealt with some ailments along the way, including a bone spur in his right elbow that required surgery, ending his 2019 season two months early.
That said, Arrieta had success over extended stretches with the Phillies. Prior to a right hamstring strain sidelining him for the final two weeks of 2020, he allowed just six earned runs in 18 innings in three September starts (3.00 ERA).
Arrieta, per Rogers, is healthy now. The Cubs know him to be a fierce competitor on the mound and they need starting pitching depth. Their rotation currently has at least one vacancy, behind the projected quartet of Kyle Hendricks, Zach Davies, Adbert Alzolay and Alec Mills.
The Cubs specifically need a veteran, as Alzolay and Mills are entering their first full seasons in the big leagues. Arrieta's market could be reasonable, and he could provide the veteran presence they need to eat innings in 2021.