When the Chicago Cubs signed pitcher Edwin Jackson to a four-year contract in January 2013, it’s safe to say that no one expected him to come in and perform like an ace. What the team did expect however, was for him to eat up innings and be a solid, middle-of-the-rotation type pitcher. Unfortunately for the Cubs, the right-hander failed to do even that.
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Jackson, 31, had another awful year in 2014 in which he posted a 6-15 record and a 6.38 ERA, with hitters batting .303 against him – which played a role in his unsightly 1.65 WHIP. In a season filled with failures and inconsistency, it’s hard to find any bright spots for the right-hander, and you’d have to go all the way back to the month of May to find a game that he managed to go at least seven innings. The amount of home runs he surrendered was alarming and he often displayed the inability to put guys away. Even for an inferior team such as the Cubs, that’s not going to cut it.
He’s been so disappointing, in fact, that the Cubs have sent the righty to the bullpen for the remainder of the 2014 season, a move Cubs manager Ricky Renteria told reporters would help the team:
"“He’s a professional,” Renteria said. “He knows where he stands. He mentions it. ‘I see what’s happening. I get it.’ He has been in this game a long time. He just wants to do what’s best for the club.”"
There are still two years and $22 million remaining on his contract, and while the Cubs will likely have to eat that cost, that shouldn’t stop them from doing all they possibly can to run him out of town. With the initial deal worth $52 million, it’s obvious now that the Cubs largely overpaid for Jackson. So, just as they spent the big bucks to acquire him in hopes of improving their team two seasons ago, Cubs management must now spend the necessary money to find him a new home.
With the team entering into the final stages of their promising rebuilding project, it’s evident that Cubs General Manager Jed Hoyer is looking to make room for the remaining prospects who are on the verge of joining the big league club. With that said, simply swapping Jackson’s contract wouldn’t be prudent.
One possible destination for Jackson is the Yankees. While New York has a reputation for dishing out top dollars for most of its acquisitions, they’d likely be open to bringing in a low-risk, high-reward pitcher at little to no cost. On the subject of what the Cubs would get in return, I’d imagine they’d take whatever they can get.
Another potential destination could be the Atlanta Braves, with whom Chicago reportedly had dialogue regarding a swap of Jackson and beleaguered outfielder B.J. Upton earlier this season. Those talks could be revisited in the offseason, despite the fact that the teams couldn’t come to terms on an agreement this summer.
In the midst of all the speculation, I can’t help but think back to Jackson’s quote during his introductory press conference in which he stated that he was excited to know that he would “be somewhere for a while.”
That’s what you call irony.