Former Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta officially retires from baseball

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Former Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta retires from baseball originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

It's basically official. Former Chicago Cubs ace Jake Arrieta is retired.

“I haven’t signed the papers, but I’m done,” Arrieta said on the Pardon My Take podcast in an episode released on Monday. “It’s time for me to step away from the game. At some point, the uniform goes to somebody else, and it’s just my time, really.”

Arrieta was a crucial member of the 2016 World Series run, throwing a pair of no-hitters across 2015 and 2016 and winning a Cy Young in 2015 after a 22-6 season with a 1.77 ERA.

He picked up wins in both of his 2016 Fall Classic starts, including the Game 6 outing that forced a decisive Game 7 in Cleveland. In nine career October starts with the Cubs, he posted a 3.08 ERA.

In 2021, Arrieta returned to the North Side looking for a bounce-back 2021 season after three injury-riddled years in Philadelphia.

Arrieta got off to a good start in 2021, holding a 2.57 ERA after his first five starts, but struggled from then on posting a 8.95 ERA over his last 15 starts with the Cubs. The Cubs ended up releasing Arrieta in August of that season.

"He was struggling. Not getting deep into starts," team president Jed Hoyer said after Arrieta's release. "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 finished the season with the Padres where things didn't get much better. The 2021 campaign ended up as the worst season of his career, with a 7.39 ERA in 24 starts between the two clubs.

In November of 2021, Arrieta's agent Scott Boras said Arrieta intended to pitch in 2022. At the time Boras attributed Arrieta's struggles to a series of physical issues, which the pitcher confirmed on the podcast.

Arrieta said physical issues affected his mechanics noting he couldn't feel his "arm in space at release."

The decline in his performance and the diminishing expectations weighed on Arrieta during his return to Wrigley.

“Trying to keep it going, trying to provide for the organization and for a (Cubs) fan base and for my teammates and doing what I did in Chicago before, it sucked to be in that position, to go from warming up before games and hearing fans in the stands going nuts and kind of knowing I was going to dominate and then last years, it’s like, ‘Oh, hopefully he gets to the third inning,’" Arrieta said.

"It sucked. It did suck, but it is what it is. There’s no script you can look at and say, ‘This is how it’s going to play itself out.’ It happened that way unfortunately, but you know, we’re here now. It’s all good.”

But Arrieta doesn't regret his return to Wrigley.

“I don’t regret anything,” Arrieta said. “Chicago is my city. It always will be.”

Arrieta's legacy with the Cubs won't be diminished by the 2021 season. His run of dominance in 2015 and '16 and his role in ending a 108-year World Series drought. Aside from the accolades and awards in his tenure, Arrieta's performance against the Pirates in the 2015 NL Wild Card game will go down in infamy as a moment Cubs expectations shifted.

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