May 27, 2022

Cubs’ Jed Hoyer, David Ross remember Jake Arrieta’s legacy as he announces retirement


There are plenty of highlights to pick out from Jake Arrieta’s Cubs career. So, what stands out to Cubs manager David Ross, who played with him and served as his manager?

“That one time he was awesome, like that entire year,” Ross said.

That’s hard to forget.

In the wake of Arrieta announcing his retirement, Ross and Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer shared memories of the former Cubs pitcher on Tuesday.

Arrieta spent two stints with the Cubs. The latter was a failed reunion in which he posted a 6.88 ERA last season, before the Cubs released him last August. But the first was one for the record books.

The Cubs acquired Arrieta in a 2013 midseason trade with the Orioles. And he turned around his season, posting a 7.23 ERA with Baltimore and 3.66 with the Cubs that year. Two years later, he won the NL Cy Young – that one time he was awesome all year. And in 2016, he was integral in the Cubs’ World Series run.

“I think every once in a while we say, ‘Oh so-and-so’s pitching like 2015 Arrieta,’ and then all of a sudden you [see] his actual numbers during that period, you realize no one actually ever pitches like that,” Hoyer said. “We knew it at the time that we’ll never see something like that again, probably in our career, and I think that’s gonna be accurate.”

Arrieta was impressive over the course of the season – 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA – but his numbers were even more eye-catching in the last 20 starts of the regular season. He posted a 0.86 ERA in those games.

“2015, that magical run that we made, certainly we don’t do that without his second half,” Hoyer said.

Then, Arrieta infamously pitched a complete game shutout in his first playoff game, a Wild Card victory at Pittsburgh in 2015. That start set the tone for the Cubs’ surprise run into the National League Championship Series.

The next year, Arrieta earned the win in both World Series games he started.

“He wanted to run the ball on the biggest stages,” Hoyer said. “There’s probably no bigger testament to a competitor than that.”

Though all those playoff moments stood out to Ross, one 2016 regular season game in particular held extra meaning for the former catcher.

Ross caught Arrieta’s second career no-hitter, in Cincinnati. It was the first and only no-hitter of Ross’ career. Ross said he has the home plate from that game framed in his house.

“The guy’s got probably some of the best stuff I’ve ever been around,” Ross said of Arrieta. “And then talking about mental toughness, it don’t get much much more mentally tough than that guy.”

The final chapter of Arrieta’s Cubs career wasn’t nearly as sweet. But it also won’t be his lasting legacy in Chicago.