I really hate to do it. I do. I jumped on people for drawing this very comparison at the end of April, saying, "it was too soon," to even think that way. But now, we're heading into July and there are no indications Cubs pitcher Jameson Taillon is any closer to turning his season around now than he was two months ago.
Any time a big Cubs free agent signing, particularly a pitcher, struggles, the Edwin Jackson comps start flying. If you'll recall, Jackson signed a four-year, $52 million deal with Chicago prior to the 2013 season - and the wheels immediately fell off for the right-hander, who led the league with 18 losses that year and 15 the next before Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer sent him packing midway through the 2015 campaign.
So after watching Taillon struggle through his latest start on Tuesday night: 5 IP, 5 ER, 7 H (2 HR) - I figured I'd go through this exercise and see how the two compared over their first 13 starts in a Cubs uniform. Sadly, the numbers don't tell a promising tale.
Comparing Edwin Jackson & Jameson Taillon in their first 13 Cubs starts
Jackson: 13 GS, 71.2 IP, 5.40 ERA, 3.31 FIP, .756 OPS
Taillon: 13 GS, 58.2 IP, 6.90 ERA, 5.23 FIP, .884 OPS
As you can clearly see, Jackson's shortcomings pale in comparison to what we've seen from Taillon to this point. The right-hander, inked to a four-year, $68 million deal last winter and looked like he'd, at the very least, slot in as a middle-of-the-rotation innings eater for the Cubs. Instead, he's been the biggest liability on the staff, leaving both he and the coaching staff searching for answers.
At least Jackson found a way to grind his way deeper into starts, averaging 5 1/2 innings per start, as opposed to Taillon's 4 1/2. He also clearly suffered due to the defense behind him, with nearly a full two-run difference between his ERA and FIP. Meanwhile, Taillon's FIP nearly mirrors Jackson's bad luck ERA - and opponent's OPS is nearly 130 points higher.
Taillon's body of work also reminds me of another guy who disappointed during his Cubs tenure, Zach Davies back in 2021, but it was his second half that really sank his numbers on the year. Either way, it's not great company to find yourself in. Drawing comparisons to Edwin Jackson is never a good thing on the North Side - but that's the point we've gotten to here in year one with Taillon.