Jake Arrieta’s second stint with the Cubs is over.
The Cubs announced Thursday they placed Arrieta on unconditional release waivers.
"He was struggling. Not getting deep into starts," team president Jed Hoyer said. "We've been patient and tried to get through it and hopefully he'd come out the other side and pitch better. We weren't there."
Arrieta got off to a good start this season, holding a 2.57 ERA in his first five starts. He's struggled since the end of April, however, posting a 8.95 ERA over his last 15 starts.
He hasn’t pitched six innings since May 14 and has gone four or less over his last five outings. He allowed eight runs in four innings Wednesday against Milwaukee, including seven in the first inning.
“Early on in the season, I think his stuff was probably a little bit sharper and his command was a little better,” Hoyer said. “Obviously, things over time this season tapered back a bit.
“I think with Jake, he did everything he could to succeed,” Hoyer added. “He's a really hard worker, worked really hard in all his bullpen sessions. This certainly was not for a lack of effort on his part in any way, and obviously, this didn't work out.”
Arrieta was asked after Wednesday's start if he had any sense why things had not clicked in his reunion with the Cubs.
“I got nothing for you, man,” he said. “I’m doing the best I can. And that’s what I’ll continue to do.”
The Cubs brought Arrieta back to the North Side on a one-year deal over the offseason after the right-hander spent three seasons in Philadelphia. Before that stint with the Phillies, he was a key cog in the Cubs’ run of success, after coming over in a trade with the Orioles in 2013.
Arrieta won the 2015 NL Cy Young Award. He won five postseason games from 2015-17, including two in the 2016 World Series. He won Game 4 of the 2017 NLCS over the Dodgers — the Cubs’ last postseason win.
Arrieta's history and past success with the Cubs made releasing him a "more difficult, more complicated" decision, Hoyer said.
For Cubs manager David Ross — Arrieta's teammate from 2015-16 who caught one of the right-hander's two no-hitters — the move was even more personal.
"You hate that one on so many levels for me," Ross said. "A friend and I've got so much to be thankful for what he's given me. It stinks. I try to forget stuff like [Wednesday] night and looking up at his numbers on the board."
Despite how his tenure ended, Arrieta left an indelible mark on the Cubs in his six seasons.
“When you look back, there's a really good argument to say he's one of the more influential people in the history of this franchise,” Hoyer said. "Other guys probably have longer careers, put up some more numbers.
"But when you look at what the apex of his career was here, you could argue it had as much of an impact on three really good seasons in ’15, ’16 and ‘17 and a world championship. You can argue that he had as much influence in that or as much to do with that as any single player."
“Nothing at all this year diminishes what he's done. This guy's a legend here."