In the Defense of Edwin Jackson


When Edwin Jackson was signed in 2012, it was thought he’d be used as trade bait.  His journeyman career gave him ample experience around the league, and his willingness to follow the money made him a valuable asset.

When Jackson signed a four-year, $52 million deal, few around the league batted an eye.  At this time, the Cubs were in the business of signing players to team-friendly deals and hoping they could pitch their way out. This in return would help them acquire quality prospects.

The results have been mixed and that’s putting it optimistically.  Jackson is the highest paid player on the Cubs, and he’s the worst pitcher in the rotation, based on WAR.

In 2013, Jackson put up a well below average 8-18 record, with a 4.98 ERA.  He, along with Michael Bowden set a Cubs record for wild pitches in an inning. Strangely enough, Edwin had his second best FIP at 3.79, which is average, but it’s worth mentioning.

Not surprisingly, the Cubs didn’t find a buyer for Jackson at the deadline and they had no choice but to keep him going into the 2014 campaign. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, both high believers in FIP, both felt that EJ could rebound in 2014.

For the most part Jackson has regressed. His win-to-starts ratio is down (From 8:31 to 6:25), his walks and his home runs per 9 innings are both up. Also alarming is the rise found from ERA and FIP. However, his K/9 rate is the highest it’s been in his career, and his abnormally high .346 BABIP suggests that Jackson could be simply unlucky.  Once again, it seems that Jackson is a victim of circumstance, and the Cubs still haven’t found any teams to take the 31 year old off their hands.

So yes the Cubs have failed to fill the objective they set out to do when the signed Jackson and trade him. However, it seems that everything has been out of Chicago’s control. Edwin put up mostly subpar numbers in 2013, but his FIP was stellar. This year his K/9 rates are up, but he’s still struggling. Unlike other trade bait that the Cubs have signed, Jackson hasn’t panned out accordingly.

With two years left on his contract, it remains to be seen whether the Cubs can find a suitable home for Jackson. At this point the Cubs would probably be content just getting Jackson off the books. While he isn’t at Alfonso Soriano type money levels, the Cubs are certainly trying to ship Edwin Jackson for anything they can get.