Six years ago, Jake Arrieta won the Cy Young. The year after, his Cubs won the World Series for the first time in 108 years.
This year, it seems pretty unlikely that either of those things will happen.
The Cubs lost their 11th straight game on Tuesday night, a 15-10 bludgeoning to the Phillies. The loss dropped them to 42-44 and fourth place in the NL Central, letting the dreaded rival Cardinals pass them after their win over the Giants.
If the Cubs lose again on Wednesday, it will match their longest losing streak since 1998 – and Chicago has suffered through a lot of losing seasons in those 24 years.
During the Cubs’ loss on Tuesday, Arrieta failed to make it out of the second inning, giving up a grand slam in the first to Andrew McCutchen. The former playoff hero has an ERA over 9 in his past twelve starts, and may lose his spot in the rotation as Trevor Williams returns from injury.
“I gotta look at that. We got a lot going on. 11 losses in a row, I think there’s a lot to look at,” Cubs manager David Ross told The Athletic when asked about replacing Arrieta. “I’ll wrap my brain around this one tonight and attack the problems in the morning.”
If Chicago keeps losing, it could signal the end for a team that just a few years ago looked poised to form a dynasty after their 2016 World Series win. In the offseason, Cubs management signaled a reluctance to spend money by letting Yu Darvish and Kyle Schwarber go – both are now 2021 All-Stars.
Now, they could continue the tear-down by trading their established stars, including Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and even Anthony Rizzo. Cubs ownership has cried poor since the COVID-19 pandemic, and if they continue to lose games at this rate, it wouldn’t be a shock to see them shed even more salary (or the prospect of future salary).