Edwin Jackson’s status with the team and possible role for the upcoming season will be two of the countless questions the front office will be asked during the convention, by both the fan base and the media.
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer said last fall that Edwin Jackson would have to earn a spot on the roster in the spring. The Cubs would not commit to him being a starter or a reliever with the team moving forward, and that he was not guaranteed anything moving forward despite the two years left on his contract.
If everything goes as planned, which seldom does in baseball, the Cubs have only a couple of spots available on what should be a 12-man pitching staff on Opening Day.
Jed Hoyer reiterated the team’s plan for Jackson to ESPN Chicago.
“I think Edwin [Jackson] is going to come in and compete for that [roster] spot, whether that’s as a starter or in the bullpen,” Hoyer told ESPN Chicago. “When he’s throwing well he can help us. We’re hoping that guy shows up. Joe [Maddon] had him in Tampa. It’s always a benefit to have familiarity.”
Not only does Edwin Jackson have a history with Joe Maddon, he also had success throwing to Miguel Montero while the two were together in Arizona during the first part of the 2010 season. Montero caught Jackson’s no hitter against Maddon’s Rays.
Jackson was 19-26 in 87 games, 63 starts, with a 5.08 ERA, 1.64 WHIP and 4.85 FIP during his three years in Tampa. And Jackson posted a 14-11 record in 32 games, 31 starts, with a 4.42 ERA, 1.51 WHIP and 4.88 FIP in 2008 for Maddon.
The first half of the 2010 season was spent in Arizona before Jackson was dealt to the White Sox. Jackson was 6-10 in 21 starts with a 5.16 ERA, 1.50 WHIP and 4.24 FIP. And in seven games with Montero behind the plate, Jackson allowed 23 runs on 43 hits in 42 innings with 26 walks and 30 strikeouts.
Miguel Montero recently talked to Carrie Muskat about working with Edwin Jackson.
Montero pointed out Jackson has a really good arm but can be rather inconsistent. Montero admitted he had to stay on him and keep Jackson focused.
“Obviously, the way I worked with him, I was on him all the time. I couldn’t stop talking to him for a second, because he’d space out a little bit. I needed to be tough and that’s what I did. Hopefully, I can help.”
The Cubs have explored every possible way to get Edwin Jackson on track even to the point of Chris Bosio speaking with all of Jackson’s previous pitching coaches. Jackson has the stuff to be successful in the big leagues but he’s not been able to get out of his own way, at least on a consistent basis. Jackson shows flashes of how good he can be and appeared to be putting it together early last season before a start late May in San Diego that sent his season spiraling downward.
Reports have indicated the Cubs have been trying to trade Jackson since last spring. Rumors surfaced teams were interested in Jackson before the start in San Diego, but after the outing against the weak-hitting Padres, the rumors quickly went away.
If Edwin Jackson has a good spring, an opportunity may present itself for the front office to move him. But for now, the Cubs will continue to be asked about Edwin Jackson even with the other improvements that have been made to the big league team this winter.