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Cubs Release Pitcher Jake Arrieta After Struggling Veteran's Latest Disastrous Start

CHICAGO (CBS/CBS Sports) -- The Cubs have placed veteran right-hander Jake Arrieta on unconditional release waivers, officially ending the struggling pitcher's second stint on the North Side., one day after giving up seven runs the first inning of an eventual 10-0 loss to the Brewers.

While Arrieta was one of the best pitchers in baseball during his first stint with the Cubs from 2014 through 2017, going 64-29 with a 2.67 ERA, with 756 strikeouts and 220 walks in 751 1/3 innings in those four seasons, and winning the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, he couldn't recapture that magic after rejoining the Cubs this year.

In 20 starts in 2021, he's pitched to a 6.88 ERA with 74 strikeouts and 39 walks in 86 1/3 innings. He's been especially bad in the first inning of games, compiling a 9.45 ERA in the opening frame.

Through his first five starts of the season, Arrieta boasted a 2.57 ERA with almost a strikeout per inning and looked like he might be in the early stages of a renaissance campaign. Since that point, however, he's allowed 67 runs and 91 hits in 58 1/3 innings while averaging less than four innings per start. Over that span opposing hitters have batted .355/.421/.645 against him. The final straw for the club was Arrieta's Wednesday night start, in which he allowed eight runs in four innings against the Brewers.

Arrieta, however, will remain a franchise legend for the Cubs. After being acquired from the Orioles in 2013, Arrieta on the Cubs' watch retooled his repertoire and became an ace. He peaked in 2015 when he won the NL Cy Young Award and was essential to the Cubs' drought-ending World Series triumph in 2016.

Following the 2017 season, he signed a $75 million free-agent contract with the Phillies and generally failed to live up to expectations. This past offseason, the Cubs signed him to a one-year pact worth $4 million that included an option for 2022. Arrieta will be owed a $2 million buyout for 2022.

If this does indeed mark the end of Arrieta's MLB career, then he'll walk away with a record of 115-90, an ERA+ of 105, a WAR of 22.0, one All-Star appearance, and, as noted, one Cy Young award.

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