Powell: It Was Only Five Years, But Jake Arrieta Provided Countless Memories For Cubs Fans

Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta at Spring Training 2017. (WGN Radio)

WRIGLEY FIELD – Jake Arrieta had so many monumental moments in a Cubs uniform – two no-hitters, postseason brilliance, a Cy Young, and, of course, a World Series title – it’s easy to forget he was only with the club for five years. And he only started four full seasons. Which makes his time in Chicago even more impressive.

“It was a really special time to be a Cub,” Arrieta said on Tuesday. “And it still is for these guys that are a part of this organization still. I wish all of them very well, and I’m thankful for the relationships that I was able to create and maintain in my time in a Cubs uniform.”

Arrieta and the Phillies are in town for their first, and only, visit to Wrigley this season. But lucky for the Cubs, Arietta won’t be making a start against his former club.

“It would have been cool to face these guys,” he said.

As fun as it would have been for the fans, it’s probably better he’s not starting. Imagine if he took the mound to a loud applause and went ahead and dominated the Cubs lineup all while Yu Darvish – who effectively took his place in the rotation – was on the disabled list.

The Darvish vs. Arrieta debate isn’t going anywhere. Especially after Darvish’s rocky start that features two DL stints and 4.95 ERA.

Just about every fan and critic has weighed in on Darvish’s rough start, so what does Arrieta think?

“I know that he’s probably got a good plan for himself because we all know that he wants to do better than he has. I know that’s the competitor that he is. I hope he does perform well for these guys because if he’s able to do that, this city is going to love him.”

Debate all you want, but here’s how Arrieta says the contract negotiations went down:

“I knew that there was always an opportunity to come back here until that contract was signed with another team. It was a very chaotic offseason for free agents, not only for myself, but for everybody involved. When Theo did call, it seemed like it could have been a possibility (to return).

“But just the way it all went down, I was leaning towards the side of probably not returning back to Chicago. That’s just the way it worked it out.”

No hard feelings. It was business.

And although he may be in a Phillies uniform at Wrigley the next few days, Arrieta says he’ll always be appreciative of the fans.

“Thank you for the support through the thick and thin – through the rough times in ’13 and ’14. And for believing in me and the rest of the team, and taking that journey with us.”

So many moments come to mind when remembering Arrieta’s time in Chicago. Big time performances in the World Series. The no-hitters. His final start as a Cub in the 2017 NLCS. And who could forget his 2015 Wild Card performance in Pittsburgh?

“There was a lot riding on that game,” he said. “The confidence level that I had in that point in time, and to be in that position to win a game for my team of that magnitude was really special. And I knew that was an opportunity for me to capitalize on a moment in this ballclub’s history, and I wanted to make sure I did that.”

He capitalized alright. A complete game, five-hit shutout that propelled the Cubs all the way to the NLCS.

Just another in a long list of memorable moments.

It may have been just five years, but Arrieta provided countless memories for Cubs fans.

Kevin Powell covers Chicago baseball for WGN Radio and anchors sports on The Roe Conn Show with Anna Davlantes, M-F/3-7pm. Follow on twitter @kpowell720