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With Yu Darvish going on the injured list with lower back tightness, the San Diego Padres are reportedly “in the mix” for veteran free-agent starter Jake Arrieta, according to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune and Jon Heyman of the MLB Network.
Acee added that the Padres are in need of “at least one fill-in starter” with Chris Paddack also on the IL because of an oblique injury.
Arrieta, 35, was released by the Chicago Cubs last week. He’s had a tough season, going 5-11 with a 6.88 ERA, 1.76 WHIP and 74 strikeouts in 86.1 innings. His second stint in Chicago ended in brutal fashion, as he gave up 11 hits and eight runs in just four innings against the Milwaukee Brewers on Aug. 11 in a 10-0 loss.
D.J. Short @djshort
Opposing batters have hit .315/.383/.557 against Jake Arrieta this season.
Making every hitter look like Nick Castellanos, basically. https://t.co/XVQZ9Htyjc
It was his fifth straight start failing to reach the fifth inning.
“He was struggling,” president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer told reporters. “Not getting deep into starts. We’ve been patient and tried to get through it and hopefully he [would] come out the other side and pitch better. We weren’t there.”
“Early on in the season, his stuff was a little sharper,” he added. “Over time, things tapered back a bit, whether that was some injury issues or age or whatever. He did everything he could do to succeed.”
Arrieta spent his first three-plus seasons in the majors with the Baltimore Orioles before a successful run with the Cubs (2013-17) that included a World Series title in 2016 and a Cy Young award in 2015.
But he wasn’t great after leaving Chicago, going 22-23 in three seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies while posting a 4.36 ERA and 1.39 WHIP. He returned to Chicago on a one-year, $6 million deal but couldn’t regain the magic from his last run with the Cubs.
It’s unclear how much Arrieta has left in the tank at this point, if anything at all, or if he would really be the best option for a Padres team (66-53) fighting for a playoff berth. San Diego currently holds the second wild-card berth in the National League but is just two games in front of the Cincinnati Reds.
It’s Wild Card or bust for the Padres, who trail the San Francisco Giants by 10 games in the NL West. So adding another starting pitcher makes sense, but Arrieta’s recent form suggests there may be better options, even in the short term.