Jackson’s Communication Breakdown and Other Cubs Spring Training News and Notes

Edwin Jackson didn’t exactly go about things the right way Friday when he decided he would only throw fastballs in his second Cactus League start against the Indians. Jackson did not let his manager or pitching coach in on his plan. And it does not sound like Rick Renteria is too happy with Edwin Jackson.

CubsMesaLogo-pubAccording to multiple reports, Rick Renteria planned to “have a conversation” with Jackson about what he decided to do without consulting his coaches. Renteria told the beat writers he and Chris Bosio noticed Jackson was throwing a lot of fastballs. Renteria said all 50 pitches Jackson threw Friday were indeed fastballs.

Edwin Jackson, his catcher and pitching coach have to be on the same page. And that goes for Spring Training games as well. Working on certain pitches is one thing and it’s alright to make a last minute decision to change a game plan. But choosing not to communicate with the coaching staff is an entirely different issue and one that must be addressed and handled properly so it never happens again.

James Russell

James Russell completed his first bullpen session in two weeks Saturday due to a dead arm that has kept him from throwing off a mound. Russell said he felt fine and expects to throw another one “in 2-3 days” according to a report from the Sun-Times. If everything goes well, Russell could be pitching in Spring Training games during the upcoming week.

James Russell is not expected to spend any time on the DL and should be part of the Cubs’ pen on Opening Day in Pittsburgh.

News and Notes

The Cubs play 11 exhibition games over the next eight days and that includes the Cubs only day off from Cactus League games on Thursday. The Cubs travel to Vegas for the annual Big League Weekend at Cashman Field next week to square off against the Mets for two days. The Cubs return to the valley next Monday for two games and start the home stretch of Spring Training at that time. The Cubs should start cutting players from the spring roster once they return from Las Vegas.

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  • paulcatanese

    Kind of what happens when you are a nice guy (Renteria, Bosio)
    the kids out there push to see what they can get away with, time to slap Jackson on the wrist.

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      Never really happened to Torre or Lasorda or Cox. I’m sure it happens to nice managers and mean managers too. Doesn’t really matter, it’s not like professional ball players are afraid of managers. Think it has more todo with an unproven guy new on te job.

      Or there may not be any pattern to it. Just anothe opportunity for you to take a cheap shot at Bosio or Renteria.

      • Richard Hood

        Kent Merker, Steve Avery, and countless others with Cox. The difference is that it was a one way out of town when Leo and Cox were not on the same page as their pitchers.

        • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

          True, but a lot easier to do when they had a farm system stocked with future all-stars and guys ready to step in. You can drop Avery when Millwood is waiting in the wings.

          Cubs have no such luxury. Also, this is very much a first offense committed by one of he few proven veterans they have. If it continues he’ll find his way out but I’m sure they’ll hope cooler heads can prevail.

      • paulcatanese

        Not a cheap shot at all.
        Tell me, how can a manager or pitching coach not see that Jackson was throwing anything else besides fastballs.
        And what does it say for the catcher?
        Does fastballs, sliders and changeups all look the same to him?
        Renteria has been portrayed as a “nice guy” and not only on this site, but others as well.
        Renteria is in charge as Bosio and the buck stops there, with them. Maybe I should have said its the batboy’s fault.
        Again. not a cheap shot at all, but earned in this case. Torre or Lasorda have not managed the Cubs, and it they did, I am sure I could find fault with some things as well.

  • No Baseball In Indiana

    Not a fan of Jackson at all. Nearly every team that he’s been with has had a good pitching coach. Hell if Don Cooper and Dave Duncan couldn’t use him the guy must really be a f#@% up. I’m praying that he can keep his ERA below 4, have decent K & BB numbers, so he can be traded around the AS break.

    • cubtex

      One of few things we agree on!

    • Vivid_Reality

      He had a 3.58 ERA in 78 innings with the Cardinals.

      • No Baseball In Indiana

        And they still didn’t resign him.

        • Vivid_Reality

          Why would you keep Jackson when you have a plethora of good young pitching in your system? Free agency pitching is expensive. Jackson has value, just not when you have better internal options, which the Cubs don’t really have right now.

        • Tony_H

          After 2010 the White Sox traded EJAX with Mark Teahan to the Blue Jays for Jason Frasor and Zach Stewart.

          The Blue Jays traded him at the trade deadline in 2011 along with Dotel, Corey Patterson and Marc Rzepczynski for Trever Miller, Colby Rasmus, Brian Tallet and PJ Walters.

          The Cardinals didn’t resign him as he was a short term rental and they had other and cheaper options.

          • No Baseball In Indiana

            Thanks for summing it up Tony. My point being good pitchers don’t pitch for eight (?) teams in ten years.

          • Tony_H

            I agree. He has bounced around for a reason. The stuff is intriguing but the results don’t match it. Mix in a few good seasons and he is going to keep getting chances, due to his durability.

  • cubtex

    Theo and Jed have been rumored to have interest in him for years.

    Major league sources say the Tigers are still willing to listen to offers on Rick Porcello. While he has shown promise, Detroit would like a hurler with more consistency.

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    business 101: don’t make an asset you want to sell look bad.

    Bosio and Renteria should have been smarter…you ream out EJax behind closed doors, and publicly act like things are good.

    What is the trade market for a pitcher that not only pitches poorly but also doesn’t work well with his coaches? Exactly.

    At least with Garza, the whispers of him being difficult in the clubhouse were kept fairly under wraps until after he was traded. You don’t bash someone you hope to flip for assets….just really bad move here by Cubs coaches.

    and before you say it had to be brought up publicly to show others/rookies it was unacceptable, that can be done without the media knowing.

    Pencil in EJax as a starter next year, or we pretty much have another Soriano-type trade is the best we will be able to do. What a waste of money. As Crane Kenney will tell you, the Cubs are 5th most profitable team in MLB, so they are awash in money, but if they were only going to spend decent FA money on 1 guy in past 2 years, it was a waste that it was this guy.

    • paulcatanese

      I agree, keep it in-house, but too late, the horse was already out of the barn.
      Interesting though, was it Jackson that leaked it, or Bosio. Once it was out, coaches needed to cover their butt.
      And who knows, was it Jackson that leaked it
      after another bad performance? A lot easier to say he was working on his fastball, when he was getting lit up.
      I didn’t like this deal when it came down and don’t like it now, I was not convinced that the Cubs were finally going for solid free agents.
      And then they stopped there. making Jackson stand out even more.

  • Tony_H

    Not sure I understand this signing, but the Cardinals just signed 23 year old SS, Aledmys Diaz to a 4 year major league deal. He is reporting to camp tomorrow. With Peralta just signed to 4 years and Carpenter just signed to 6 years, Wong might be the odd man out.

    • Richard Hood

      I actually like this contract for the Cards. Some depth to make Wong and Peralta earn their spot is not a bad thing. Just because the kid gets a major league deal does not mean he is destine to start in the big leagues. Look at Soler.

      • Tony_H

        He will start in AAA, but they didn’t give him a 4 year contract at 23 years old to keep him their long.

      • cubtex

        I don’t think they signed Peralta with the thinking he will be at SS for the next 4 years. He could move to 3rd as soon as next year. Carpenter is very versatile and can be moved again if needed.

    • paulcatanese

      Agree Tony, but as the Cubs have continually said, a team can’t have too many shortstops.

  • BosephHeyden

    Wait a sec…did people actually think a major league pitching coach told a major league pitcher to work on his fastball by throwing nothing BUT fastballs? Yee-gads.

    He was a bad signing. He was a sensible signing had they signed him to a one or two year contract, because he seems to know he’s “rental caliber”, and he performs better because he knows his next paycheck will increase if he does (either because he’s viewed as a good player or as a good prospect magnet). Four years? He has no incentive to play well, and his high-3, low-4 ERA shows that he’s not a player you build around.

    • Vivid_Reality

      No offense but I really hate that argument. “He has no incentive to play well.”

      Really?

      You think someone at that level of scrutiny doesn’t feel the drive to perform? He pretty much gets ripped by the fans if he doesn’t pitch well, which is happening. If he had a reputation of not caring once he got paid, no one would have ever given him a contract.

      • BosephHeyden

        You know what will drown out the boos? The sound that the $52 million he’s making over the four year contract he signed.

        The year before last was really the first time he really got “paid”, with his contract with the Nationals the paid him with postseason incentives. But it was also a one year deal, meaning he had to play for his next contract.

        People like numbers, so here’s another: 31. That’s how old Jackson turns this year. By the time his contract is up, he’ll be in the early part of being 33. And we talk about it all the time here: age isn’t something people pay for.

        If Jackson performs at a very average, or even below average, level between now and the end of his contract, he’s still going to get paid the same as if he performed to career levels these next three years. He’ll get signed to a one year deal, maybe major league but probably minor league deal, around the tune of $4-$5 million, with a lot of incentives that may bump it to $6 or $8 million. Really, at a certain point, there’s no incentive to go all out. He’s already got more money than anyone else will ever see, and he’ll continue to make more than most.

        But it’s not like he’s an unusual case. That’s most professional athletes. It’s why you only occasionally hear about how hard a guy drives himself. Hell, it’s why a lot of us may not like (the team they play for, anyways), but definitely respect a guy like Derek Jeter or a Mariano Rivera: it’s drive, and it’s something a lot of guys will only have until they get paid.

        • paulcatanese

          Yep, and the way money is thrown around at these players, half of them don’t even have a clue what they earned until their career is over, then they wish it could have been done better.