The St. Louis Cardinals might be looking at Jake Arrieta to further shore up their pitching staff. They should run in the other direction.
I see you, John Mozeliak. You’re licking your lips at the opportunity to snag pitcher Jake Arrieta off the scrap heap after the Chicago Cubs released him today. No, John, don’t pick up that phone. You don’t want to do this. It’s not worth it.
The St. Louis Cardinals‘ moves to sign veteran pitchers Jon Lester and J.A. Happ at the trade deadline were widely panned because of their ages and struggles this year. Grabbing Arrieta, 35, would seem to fit the Cardinals’ mantra perfectly. Arrieta has had a better career than both of them, even winning the National League Cy Young Award in 2015. But this is not the Arrieta of yesteryear.
The timing of Arrieta’s release from the Cubs couldn’t be more perfect for the Cardinals, as Wade LeBlanc exited today’s game with an elbow injury. If he misses time, the Cardinals will need to find another reliable starter.
Arrieta has not fared well in 2021 and has in fact declined every year since his masterful 2015. He has a 6.88 ERA and has allowed a career-high 11.8 hits per nine innings. The Cardinals might think they can squeeze a little more juice out of his arm, but even if they could, I still wouldn’t want him on the team.
Arrieta is a COVID-19 vaccine skeptic, saying “the knowledge is unsettled,” according to a Chicago Sun-Times article. He also created controversy in his actions during an interview on Wednesday, telling a reporter “I’d love you to take your mask off. I don’t think anyone’s around you.” While not an egregiously ignorant comment on its own, the knowledge of Arrieta’s thoughts on the vaccine makes his statement more questionable.
The Cardinals are not blame-free when it comes to COVID-19-related drama. One might remember the rumors swirling around last year that several players went to a casino instead of remaining quarantined. Nevertheless, picking up a player who has gone public about his unvaccinated status would be a terrible move and a bad look for the Cardinals. And if they were going to do that, they could do far better than Arrieta.