The addition of Jake Arrieta is a sign the Padres are panicking

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Jake Arrieta is a fantastic signing, assuming that the Padres have invented the time machine. 

The 2015 Cy Young winner, who won both his starts in the curse-ending Cubs 2016 World Series victory, has seen his ERA get worse for each of the past six seasons. After putting up a 6.88 ERA in 20 starts with the Cubs in 2021, Arrieta was released.

The Padres, who have lost five of their last six, have seen their starting pitching collapse.

Yu Darvish is on the injured list with lower back tightness, Dinelson Lamet hadn’t ever gotten fully healthy since his injury late in 2020, Chris Paddack has an oblique strain, and Ryan Weathers has been rocked in his last four outings. The Padres, who now find themselves just one and a half games ahead of the Reds, have seen their playoff chances decrease from 79% on July 13 to just 43% on August 17, according to FiveThirtyEight’s MLB predictions.

The Padres, who aren’t ready to call up top pitching prospect MacKenzie Gore, are panicking. Jake Arrieta is expected to start on Wednesday.

Arrieta’s struggles can be attributed to his ratios with the three true outcomes. He’s allowing 2.2 home runs per nine innings, the worst of his career and double his career average. He’s walking 4.1 batters per nine innings, the worst he’s done since 2013, and he’s striking out 7.7 batters every nine innings, which is also below the major league average. In fact, there is not a single stat in baseball that Jake Arrieta is above average in. He’s just not good anymore. 

The Padres have no other choices, having failed to acquire any starting pitchers at the trade deadline. General manager AJ Preller decided to stand pat, feeling that the starting pitching the Padres had on the roster was enough to get the Padres into the postseason while also holding on to the Padres’ top prospects. Preller isn’t psychic, and there is no way to predict Darvish and Paddack’s injuries and the struggles of Weathers. Preller made a risky decision, and it does not look like it will pay off. The Padres are falling fast, and the surging Reds, who have one of the easiest schedules down the stretch, are a real threat to the Padres’ postseason aspirations.

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Jake Arrieta is a two-dollar lottery ticket lying on the ground. The Padres signed Arrieta to a minor league deal. While he probably will not do anything special in a Padres uniform, any good outing the Padres get from Arrieta is enough to make the addition worth it. Six years ago, Jake Arrieta was outstanding. Three years ago, he was good, and he was serviceable even as recently as last season. If Jake Arrieta is serviceable, the Padres will be a better team with Arrieta than without him.

The Padres are desperate and panicking. They absolutely need to be, as the recent performances from the team are not enough, especially considering the extremely talented roster. Jake Arrieta is not going to solve the problem, but he is a perfectly fine addition to the team, assuming that the Padres do not expect Arrieta to be elite or even good.

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1 year ago

Panic? Perhaps, but this smacks of acute desperation. There are at least a handful of AA pitchers that would be far better than Arrieta.

Preller knew his pitchers were heavily overworked, with a history of injuries, and so this was predictable, at least with the decline in quality (eg Weathers). He also hired a pitching coach who miserably failed. His pitchers consistently failed to even pitch 5 innings. They shattered the unofficial record of 3 ball counts, and they tap out after 80 pitches (other starters routinely go 90 to 100, or more). So this debacle was predictable, mainly due to the rec-league attitude and effort of 90% of the team.

This falls on Preller, and on ownership for assembling this group, and this manager.

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