The Padres are close to a deal with veteran starting pitcher Jake Arrieta, as The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported Monday. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that it’s a major league deal and that Arrieta is tentatively scheduled to start Wednesday:
Padres close to signing Jake Arrieta, sources tell @TheAthletic. Expect to finalize deal soon.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 16, 2021
Arrieta is being penciled in for Wednesday https://t.co/ttTIW0c275— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) August 16, 2021
Arrieta, 35, won the NL Cy Young Award in 2015 and was one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball during the middle of the last decade. But he’s been bad for three seasons now and has been one of the worst pitchers in baseball in 2021, posting a 6.88 ERA with a 1.76 WHIP over 86.1 innings. His command hasn’t been terrible (74 strikeouts and 39 walks), but he’s allowed 21 homers this season.
Arrieta is an unimpressive but perhaps necessary addition for a Padres team that placed Yu Darvish on the injured list Sunday with lower back tightness and is also missing Dinelson Lamet (forearm inflammation) and Chris Paddack (oblique strain). Mike Clevinger and Adrian Morejon, two pitchers who otherwise would be key members of the Padres’ staff, are also out for the season due to Tommy John surgery. With Ryan Weathers and Reiss Knehr, both of whom were pretty far down the Padres’ starting depth chart to start 2021, now covering key innings, San Diego opted for a veteran to fill the latest rotation vacancy rather than adding another starter from Triple-A.
Arrieta — who has already developed a reputation as a polarizing clubhouse presence prior to 2021, publicly calling out the Phillies’ coaching staff for their usage of shifts in 2018 — only added to that reputation this year, becoming one of baseball’s most high-profile anti-vaxxers and harassing veteran reporter Bruce Levine for wearing a mask during a postgame Zoom conference last week. While those may not be things that his teammates care about, he’s an interesting character to bring in for a playoff push, especially considering that he’s been one of the worst starters in baseball this year.