Chicago Cubs: Who has something to prove this spring?

3 of 6

Edwin Jackson has been a disappointment thus far as a Chicago Cub.  After signing a four-year contract worth $52 million – Jackson has had the expectations to show he was worth that kind of contract.  He was expected to be a top of the rotation starter.  He was expected to be a leader for the Cubs – now he’s not even expected to be in the starting rotation.  If there was any time in Jackson’s career to push the panic button and step it up – it would be now.

The numbers haven’t been there while with the Cubs.  Jackson’s two-year totals are enough to have most pitchers looking for a new place to call home.  A record of 14-33 in 58 games started, and his 5.58 ERA only tell part of the story.  Hitter’s had a field day off of the Cubs’ big money right-handed pitcher as well.  The two-year averages have been .281 and .302 for hitters.  While 2013 Jackson did have 14 quality starts – that number would be cut in half in 2014.  This means a lot of early exits and longer innings being logged by a taxed bullpen.

More from Chicago Cubs News

This year Jackson will see a few familiar faces from his past.  Joe Maddon had Jackson apart of his pitching staff while managing the Rays in 2006-2008.  The numbers are very similar with the Rays as they have been with the Cubs.  A win/loss record of 19-26 and a 5.08 ERA still stands out as eye sores.  Will Maddon have any more success the second time around? I hope so, but I’m not holding my breath.

Also reuniting with Jackson is Miguel Montero.  The duo spent 21 games together while with the Arizona Diamondbacks.  A record of 6-10 with 5.16 ERA still doesn’t give you a lot of confidence that Montero will make much difference for the righty this time around either.

So what is it that still gives Jackson a chance at capturing a job in the rotation? Ego of the front office to prove their signing wasn’t as bad as it has been so far? Probably not.  Every front office manager has made their fair share of signings and trades that haven’t worked out. Maybe the office still has confidence that their big signing from two years ago will finally figure it all out.

I think the fact that there is no expectations on Jackson anymore helps. The pressure of being in the top half of the rotation is long gone – there is no chance for that.  So to sneak into the back-end of the rotation while slim, is still there.  Maybe there is also the matter of pride for Jackson to show he belongs in the majors and with a winning team. Whatever it is, he’s got his work cut out for him to prove all of us wrong.

Next: Three-time All-Star isn't enough?