No one should have been fooled by Edwin Jackson‘s first start of the season, least of all the Chicago Cubs. Jackson looked so dominant in his first go-around against the Pittsburgh Pirates that some wondered if this was going to be the year the talented but inconsistent pitcher finally put it all together.
Then came his second start of the season, and things looked all too familiar. 4.2 innings pitched, nine hits, four walks and six earned runs later, Jackson’s ERA had gone from 1.69 to 6.30. This is what Jackson simply is for pretty much his entire career.
This is also why the Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer were quite foolish to give the journeyman pitcher a four-year deal. This is why from 2006 to 2013, Jackson had never been on the same team from one year to the next. That alone is an impressive run that should have had the Cubs’ front office very wary.
The worst part of course is that there is almost no trade market for this kind of pitcher. Jackson still has two more years after this one to ply his trade on the North side of Chicago, and his yearly salary makes him something akin to radioactive.
So the Cubs will have to hope that his career-worst 18 losses a year ago is something the team can somehow avoid approaching in 2014. The team just finally finished counting down the months until Alfonso Soriano‘s contract was off the books, and now the franchise is doing it again with Jackson.
Granted, the pitcher’s contract isn’t really anywhere near as bad as Soriano’s, but it’s still painful to watch a hurler with as much potential as he has go out there and look as bad as he has day in and day out. The optimism of his final Spring start and his first regular season start are long gone. Now Cubs fans get to watch Jackson be Jackson again while popping as many Rolaids as their pockets will hold.