When a team opts to sign a 35-year-old pitcher — one who was released by another organization after producing a 5-11 record, recording a 6.88 ERA and making controversial comments — you know that said team is struggling in the pitching department. And when that same team designates him for assignment after only four starts, you know that he probably didn't improve all that much.
In the case of Jake Arrieta, he actually got far worse.
The Padres took a chance on Arrieta, signing him in mid-August despite his apparent struggles not only in 2021, but in recent years. From 2019-2020 with the Phillies, Arrieta logged a 12-12 record with a 4.75 ERA, a figure which ranked in the bottom-25 among qualified pitchers (min. 150 IP), and was one of only 13 pitchers to allow at least 10 hits per nine innings over that span (via Stathead).
Seeing as Arrieta's numbers with the Cubs in his 2021 reunion were far worse, as previously mentioned, I'm not sure what the Padres thought the result would be. But as it turns out, he finished his Padres stint with an 0-3 record in four starts, logging 12.1 innings and allowing a whopping 15 earned runs. That's good for a 10.95 ERA, which is what will happen when you surrender 13.1 hits per nine innings.
In his final start with San Diego, he also exited with a minor injury.
We'll see if he earns another chance with a big league team, but the return on investment hasn't been too promising when clubs have tried to harness that 2015 Cy Young magic that briefly put Arrieta atop baseball's pitching hierarchy. As of right now, he's a whole lot closer to the very bottom.