Jake Arrieta may be taking his talents to the Philadelphia Phillies but the right-handed ace made it clear in a handwritten letter that the Chicago Cubs will always hold a special place in his heart.
Arrieta, the 2015 National League Cy Young Award winner and 2016 MLB World Series champion with the Cubs, agreed to a three-year, $75million deal with the Phillies on Sunday.
As he alluded to in the letter posted to Twitter, Arrieta was dealt to the Cubs in 2013 after struggling in Baltimore (20-25, 5.46 ERA).
"In the midst of what felt like never ending adversity and failure, I was traded to the Chicago Cubs on July 2, 2013," Arrieta wrote. "This was the beginning of a four and a half year stretch that would forever change our lives. On the verge of walking away from the game I love dearly, Theo called, and the transformation began. I looked myself in the mirror, as well as my two-year-old son and pregnant wife knowing in my heart that everything was about to change.
"Chicago was our home, and will forever be a special place for my entire family. We raised our children in Wrigleyville, one of the most iconic places in all of sports. Going to work every day was an honour for many reasons from the storied history of the organisation, to the high character individuals I was surrounded by year after year. Three consecutive NLCS appearances, two NL Central Titles, and a World Series Championship… the first in 108 years. Childhood dreams turned reality, thanks to so many amazing people, all holding one another to a very high standard.
"I send gracious thanks to the Ricketts family and front office for their commitment to winning at any cost. Going the extra mile to take care of our families was never taken for granted. I was lucky to have dedicated team-mates that willingly shed blood, sweat, and tears to achieve our goals. I will miss going to battle with all of you, but look forward to competing on opposite sides moving forward. Lastly, thanks to all Cubs fans around the world for standing with us, and investing in us even when times were tough. You will all be missed dearly. Thanks for the memories.
Arrieta, who just turned 32, had a 3.53 ERA last season in 168.3 innings over 30 starts with the Cubs.