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The Padres Are In Massive Talks To Save Their Season By Signing Veteran Starting Pitcher Jake Arrieta

I could very easily sit here and talk about how bad Jake Arrieta was for the Cubs this year but that's pretty obvious. I don't think anyone is surprised or enlightened with that revelation. He went his last 13 starts in a Cubs uniform without making it past 5 innings. Over that stretch he gave up 80 hits in 49 innings including 14 home runs en route to a 9.00 ERA. The Cubs went just 2-11 in those 13 starts including a 1-5 record in June and a clean 0-8 since that lone win on June 9th. 

Opposing hitters over this 13-game stretch were On Average more productive than the best players in MLB. The 254 batters faced in these Arrieta starts posted a collective 1.060 OPS. That would rank 1st this year amongst all qualified hitters, ahead of Tatis Jr. (1.054), Vlad Jr.  (1.020) and well ahead of Juan Soto (.942). That really puts the stink in perspective. 

But like I said this is pretty obvious. Anyone with a pulse that pays loose attention to Major League Baseball knows that Arrieta has been just about the worst version of himself. So bad that many predicted his career came to an unceremonious ending when the Cubs released him last week unconditionally. 

It was easier the 2nd time around because you felt the struggle. At some points it was downright uncomfortable watching our beloved Jake search and fail for better results. Just about everyone following knew that his time was long over with the Cubs. Especially having parted with the World Series core and clearly moving back into a rebuild phase. The writing wasn't just on the wall. It was a comprehensive multi-layered mural visible from outer space. 

To be fair - Arrieta's earned every ounce of preferential treatment that came his way this season. He's a walking legend on the north side of Chicago. A living embodiment that you don't have to play for the Cubs and be completely pathetic. There's a lot of people responsible for the Cubs six-year run, but possibly no one more important to dominating the competition the way the Cubs did for a couple seasons. To that effect, Jake Arrieta was the trailblazing phenom that made the Cubs the best team in baseball whenever he took the mound. Of all the great names spread across franchise, nobody compares to Arrieta when he was locked-in at 100%. There's no arguing how special and impactful he is to the Cubs' history. 

That's why I can confidently say I'm very happy Jake gets another shot to make meaningful starts. Even if he was abysmal this season and was a contributing factor to two separate 11-game losing streaks. Even if they sold everyone I ever cared about. Even if he made some remarkably stupid comments on the way out that undoubtedly alienated huge portions of the fanbase. Even with all of the negativity and bullshit and disappointment, I'm compelled to be happy for Jake because he's done so much in his career for the Cubs. That's easy logic. 

The hard part is trying to understand what the Padres see in him at this point. He's a relentless professional that makes clubhouses better and pitching staffs more competitive. He's an extremely respected veteran with established success against the NL West. He's got plenty of experience in playoff and pennant chases. All that good shit you want at the backend of your rotation the last couple weeks of the year. He fits the narrative. 

The downside is that he's been quantifiably horrendous. I'm all for a change of scenery, but I don't think this one puts him the thousands of feet below sea-level his fastball requires to stay in a standard ballpark. Statcast and every advanced statistic calculated this year agrees on that too. It doesn't look good for Jake Arrieta which in conclusion is why this move probably works out flawlessly. Maximum confusion for Cubs fans as he hits a resurgence. Frustration that he returns to form in the midst of a playoff chase. Desperation that everything seems to fail for us as our former players dominate in their new environments. 

I know the data says otherwise but I'm not listening. I know how this pain works. Jake Arrieta has no choice but to shove for the Padres. That's how The Baseball Gods work.