Jake Arrieta's August release by a Chicago Cubs team he won a Cy Young Award and World Series with was described by team executive Jed Hoyer as "the right thing to do."
His release from the San Diego Padres roster on Tuesday can be aptly summed up as inevitable.
The Padres signed the 12-season MLB veteran on Aug. 16 with hopes he could bolster their pitching rotation for the stretch run. Four starts, 12.1 innings and 15 earned runs later, the Padres have designated Arrieta for assignment. In a corresponding move, they activated pitcher Javy Guerra from the 60-day injured list.
Padres projected optimism in signing Arrieta
“We need quality innings, we need pitches, we need an opportunity to win games,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said upon signing Arrieta to a pitching staff beset with injuries. “With all of his experience, everything he’s done, we need some quality innings these last seven weeks, and we think he can be part of that solution."
Tingler's optimism for Arrieta's arrival was countered with the reality of a 35-year-old pitcher who posted a 6.88 ERA in 20 starts for the Cubs prior to his Chicago release. Arrieta looked very much like the same player in San Diego with a 10.95 ERA, 1.865 WHIP and 0-3 record.
He certainly can't be blamed for San Diego's slide from NL West hopefuls to 20.5 games behind the first-place San Francisco Giants. But he certainly didn't help the cause. For the Padres, Arrieta's release amounts to an acknowledgement of a mistake as they look to cling to their fading postseason hopes.
After a three-game sweep by the St. Louis Cardinals over the weekend, the Padres entered Tuesday four games behind that same Cardinals team for the NL's second and final Wild Card slot. Arrieta allowed four earned runs in Sunday's 15-4 loss to St. Louis before leaving with a groin strain after recording just one out.
The Padres play their final 12 games in series against the Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves and then again against the Giants, all of which project as playoff teams.