It didn’t end the way that anyone hoped it would end.
Today the Cubs placed right-handed pitcher Jake Arrieta on waivers for the purpose of giving him his unconditional release. In addition, catcher Willson Contreras was placed on 10-day injured list with a knee sprain and left-handed pitcher Kyle Ryan was designated for assignment.
To replace Contreras, the Cubs activated catcher Austin Romine from the injured list and called up right-handed pitcher Ryan Meisinger from Triple-A Iowa.
Arrieta is a Cubs legend. The 2013 deal that sent Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger to the Orioles for Arrieta and Pedro Strop was one of the first steps in the Cubs turnaround. Arrieta pitched well from the moment that he arrived in Chicago and ended up winning the 2015 Cy Young Award. He was the starting and winning pitcher for Game six of the 2016 World Series. He’s still the last Cubs pitcher to have won a postseason game in 2017. He had two no-hitters as a Cubs pitcher.
Arrieta left the Cubs as a free agent after the 2017 season. After three seasons with the Phillies, Arrieta returned to the Cubs at the start of this season. Unfortunately, his return to Chicago did not go well. In 20 starts, he went 6-11 with a 6.88 ERA. But those numbers don’t show how truly poor he has been since the beginning of June. In his last ten starts with the Cubs, Arrieta has posted a 10.44 ERA. Last night’s game with the Brewers, where Arrieta allowed seven runs in the first inning and eight runs over four, appears to have been the final straw.
Kyle Ryan was 0-0 with a 6.75 ERA and one save in 13 games for the Cubs this season.
Contreras going on the injured list with a knee sprain is also a big blow to the team. Replacing him is catcher Austin Romine, giving the Cubs both Romine brothers on their major league roster. Austin Romine had been on the 60-day IL for Iowa. He played six games with the Chicago Cubs earlier this season and went 1 for 9.
Meisinger was 2-2 with a 4.25 ERA for Triple-A Iowa this season. The number that stands out for him is that he’s struck out 45 batters over 29.2 innings this season. Meisinger pitched two games for the Cardinals last season and 18 for the Orioles in 2018.
Jake Arrieta’s release is another sad moment for the Cubs in a season full of them, but it was clear that Arrieta’s recent performance left the team with little choice.