Chicago Cubs – Edwin Jackson Typifies Why Cubs Continue to Lose

by Kent Sterling

UnknownThe Cubs were in trouble.  President of baseball ops Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer looked Unknownat their roster, and had no idea where the Cubs would find a workhorse to eat innings.  Matt Garza couldn’t be counted on because of his elbow, and free agent acquisition Scott Baker was still rehabbing after April, 2012, Tommy John surgery.  The farm system didn’t have an arm that was ready to be trusted.

Panic set in.  The Cubs rotation would be Jeff Samardzija, Carlos Villanueva, Travis Wood, Scott Feldman, and Uh-oh – no Uh-oh isn’t an import from Korea.  It’s an open spot without any real hope for finding an in-house option.  So, on January 2nd, the Cubs did what the Cubs general managers have always done.

UnknownThey succumbed to the pressure and picked up the phone.  On the other end was a guy who eats innings, Unknownbut has shown himself incapable of breaking free of mediocrity over ten seasons for seven teams.  His 70-71 career record testified loudly to that.  Edwin Jackson was interested in pitching for the Cubs, but was tired of moving around.

Traded five times (actually six, but he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays only to be relayed over to the St. Louis Cardinals on the same day) from 2006 to 2011, and fresh off a one-year deal with the Washington Nationals, Jackson wanted to sign more than a six-month lease.

UnknownSo the Cubs did what the Cubs always do, locked themselves into a long-term deal for a middling talent imageswho fills a temporary need.

There is a reason Jackson was signed to a one-year deal by the nationals after being a contributor to the Cardinals World Series win in 2011.  He is a stop gap guy who won’t pitch a good team out of the postseason, or a bad team into it.  And now he’ll plug a gap for the Cubs for the 2013 season, and the next three for $13 million per year.

He’ll win at a slightly lower rate than the team, throw between 200 innings give or take.  By the end of the
imagesdeal, the Cubs will regret allocating $52 million to signing Jackson.  But for 2013, who else could have takenUnknown the ball every five days.

After Jackson’s 0-5 start, Hoyer told the Chicago Sun-Times, ‘‘[Jackson] has had a really long track record, and consistency has been one of his traits over his career. At the same time, he needs to pitch better and help his team, and he knows it.’’

Yes, he has been consistently mediocre, and Jackson will win some games, but not as many as he loses if the Cubs are as bad as the appear to be.  Jackson is a professional inning eater, and there is a place on any team for a guy like that.  To prove it, he’s worn eight jerseys prior to turning 30.  He’ll stop there for awhile because there are 29 teams in baseball who don’t want Jackson’s contract.

When the alternative is Casey Coleman, Edwin Jackson at $13M isn’t a bad alternative, but by 2015 that money will be needed elsewhere, and the Cubs will be stuck with an older version of a guy they signed because of a well-earned panic attack.

3 thoughts on “Chicago Cubs – Edwin Jackson Typifies Why Cubs Continue to Lose

  1. Aaron

    “So the Cubs did what the Cubs always do, locked themselves into a long-term deal for a middling talent who fills a temporary need” you say. Nobody on the Cubs is the same. The owners are different. Management is different. Hell, the players are different. Who is always doing this? Are you saying that once somebody walks into 1060 W. Addison they can’t resist bad deals? Who is doing what had always been done? Tell me! I think you will find out it’s just your perspective and it’s a boring ass story. Teams make good deals and bad deals. Sometimes you just have to fill a need. So every time the cubs make a bad deal, it’s business as usual? What about when they make a good deal? Still business as usual? You are stretching here. Why don’t you write the facts and keep your lame opinions out of it.

    1. kentsterling Post author

      The Cubs make bad deals, and the have since free agency. Their lack of farm system – a consistent problem since World War II – causes constant overreaching. It’s endemic to the Cubs, regardless of the management or ownership.

  2. Ryan

    Really good article for the most part. My hope for the Cubs from the EJax deal is that it will put them off of the free-agent route as a shortcut to try and build a contender. When I hear people talking about signing top FA’s to build the Cubs i cringe; look at what’s happened with the majority of the big-name FA signings in recent years. they’ll haunt clubs for a long time. If this little dalliance with EJax puts the cubs off of that kind of path, it’s worth it for me.


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