It’s become an all too familiar scene for the Chicago Cubs. Manager Rick Renteria motioning to the bullpen early in an Edwin Jackson start. It’s the same Jackson, getting the same results, drawing the same jeers from a Wrigley crowd that has simply seen enough.
The Cubs have to find a way to get rid of Jackson.
Jackson returned to the rotation today against the Dodgers at Wrigley. But if you tuned in late, you might not have realized it. He was chased after pitching only 2/3 of an inning, allowing five earned runs.
A quick look at his résumé would show you a World Series title, a no-hitter, and eight years of MLB service. But the Cubs have seen a darker second page. Just about two years into the four-year, $52 million deal, and Jackson has given the Cubs 32 losses and a 5.47 ERA. With two years left at a clip of $11 million per year, the Cubs are looking and listening for any out they can find.
Similar to Carlos Zambrano‘s final days, the front-office would be willing to swap a bad deal, eat a portion, likely a large one, of his remaining $22 million. It’s one of the few missteps the Cubs brass has made, but it’s become the elephant in the room, elevated on the bump in a room called Wrigley Field.
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In his defense, Jackson has owned up to his terrible performances. He believes he’s capable of better things, and wants to show the fans of Chicago that. Unfortunately, none of them are watching anymore. And that’s if he stays out on the hill long enough to know he was even there.
He’s gone at least seven innings only three times, and the last was May 17 against Milwaukee. In 14 of his 26 starts he has allowed four or more runs. When you rarely make it to the fifth, that math doesn’t work out too well.
When the Cubs signed Jackson, they were looking for depth, for an ‘innings-eater’. Up until this season Jackson was at least reliable, making his start every fifth day. The only problem was he was losing most of those. And now the expectation him going deep into games is really, well, it’s a ludicrous though.
There has been a lot made of the Cubs financial situation. Finally, after many years of being saddled with terrible contracts and players with no-trade clauses they couldn’t disperse of, they’re going to have some financial freedom. They inked Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo to long-term deals at a bargain rate for what these two are accomplishing on the field. Several of the pieces they’ve developed this season are under team control for the next few seasons, players like Jake Arrieta for example.
But the first order of business for the Cubs in the offseason should be parting ways with Jackson. If they can find a willing partner with a player they want to deal, let’s do it. Many reclamation projects by the Cubs have panned out very well. It’s a better situation than having to endure the possibility of another 15-20 loss season. If he needs to be cut, and the Cubs end up on the hook for most of what he’s owed, so be it.
Unless there is something I’m missing, I can’t see any realistic possibility he remains with the Cubs after this season. Baseball is a business; And right now, Edwin Jackson is bad business.