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Cubs express gratitude for role Arrieta played

Now with Philly, righty crucial to three playoff runs, World Series win
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

MESA, Ariz. -- No matter what Jake Arrieta does for the Phillies, the Cubs will always remember what he did for them on Oct. 7, 2015. On that date, the right-hander propelled the Cubs into the postseason, throwing a shutout against the Pirates to win the National League Wild Card Game.

"Dynamic," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Arrieta's performance. "What he did in probably the most significant game we played against the Pirates, winning that Wild Card Game. That jettisoned us beyond. That was a kind of a seminal moment right there."

MESA, Ariz. -- No matter what Jake Arrieta does for the Phillies, the Cubs will always remember what he did for them on Oct. 7, 2015. On that date, the right-hander propelled the Cubs into the postseason, throwing a shutout against the Pirates to win the National League Wild Card Game.

"Dynamic," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Arrieta's performance. "What he did in probably the most significant game we played against the Pirates, winning that Wild Card Game. That jettisoned us beyond. That was a kind of a seminal moment right there."

Arrieta threw his first career no-hitter that year, on Aug. 30 against the Dodgers, and finished 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA, winning the NL Cy Young Award.

On Tuesday, the right-hander was dressed in Phillies red after signing a three-year contract with the team.

"I'm happy for him," said Cubs infielder Tommy La Stella, who exchanged text messages Monday with Arrieta. "It's awesome, and it'll be a nice fit for them. He has an opportunity to influence a team that will be pretty good sometime soon."

Tweet from @Cubs: For what you���ve done for this franchise. For what you���ve done for this city. For what you do for the game.Thank you, @JArrieta34. pic.twitter.com/zuNKrjEDww

"I'm really happy for him," Maddon said of Arrieta, who was a free agent for the first time this offseason. "I saw that picture of him standing next to the Phillies' private jet, and I thought that was pretty cool.

"I think him and Gabe [Kapler] will get along well," Maddon said. "They'll have chances to discuss diets and supplements and new methods of nutrition and Pilates and the whole nine yards. He went to the right manager regarding lifestyle similarities. It should be interesting."

Both Arrieta and Kapler look as if they could pose for the cover of a men's health publication as the desired "after" photos.

"They both belong in a magazine, and I'm sure they might end up there side by side at some point," Maddon said.

Tweet from @johncusack: Congrats to jake arrieta - forever a cubs champion & a legend loved by city of Chicago - hope you have a great 3 years with Philly ! We will miss u ! Always a cub !

One of the turning points for Arrieta with the Cubs and Maddon may have come June 21, 2015, when the right-hander threw a four-hit shutout. Maddon said he "permitted" Arrieta to go the distance, and sometimes when that happens, it gives the pitcher a confidence boost.

"When you go out there as a Major League starting pitcher and complete what you started, it does something to you inside," Maddon said.

Jason Heyward didn't bother Arrieta during the offseason regarding his free agency. The first time Heyward sent a text was on March 6, Arrieta's birthday.

"It's life-changing money for him and his family," Heyward said. "Obviously he's done a lot for us, for Chicago and for baseball. I'm happy for him. I told him, 'I miss you guys.' I miss his kids when they come around."

Arrieta said thanks to Cubs fans and Chicago in a handwritten note and mentioned one of the things he liked was how well the team took care of his family.

Tweet from @JArrieta34: 🙏🏆���🏼 pic.twitter.com/vFGFQArISb

"There's a lot to be said about how they allow us to show up and focus on baseball," Heyward said. "I've had family come around plenty and friends come around, and I don't have to think or worry too much about them. We can just focus on trying to win."

The Cubs admit it will be strange seeing Arrieta dressed in Phillies red when he comes to Wrigley Field June 5-7.

"It's going to be weird," La Stella said. "We have an off-day in Chicago [on June 4] before Philly comes to town. It'll be good. We can hang out. It'll be good to see him."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs, Jake Arrieta