CHICAGO -- Edwin Jackson, who has played for eight teams and been dealt six times in his career, is once again hearing his name floated as the trade deadline approaches.
“I think I’ve always looked at it the same,” Jackson said. “It’s one of those things that you can’t worry about and you can’t control. That’s pretty much been my take on it since the first time that I’ve been traded. I’ve been traded after All-Star years. I’ve been traded after subpar seasons. I’ve been traded after bad seasons. I’ve been traded in the middle of seasons. Most of the time when you see people get traded, they go to a playoff contending team, so all trades aren’t bad.
“At the present time, I’m right here with Chicago, and that’s what I’m focusing on. I’m not really focusing too far down the road.”
The Cubs already have traded away two-fifths of their rotation for the third season in a row. And with the team headed toward its fifth straight fifth-place finish in the NL Central, the trade rumors aren’t letting up.
“It happens,” Jackson said. “At the end of the day, we all have a job to do; we all have to go out and pitch. We can’t pitch for those guys, and we aren’t those guys. It’s a tough loss for the team. Those two guys were pitching real well. But at the end of the day, sometimes things happen that you can’t control.
“We can’t let two guys that we lose dictate our season. We still have to go out, and we still have to play baseball games. We still have to finish the season, whether those guys are here or not.”
After giving up five runs (four earned) in five-plus innings Thursday night, Jackson has a 5.68 ERA and a 9.8 percent walk rate on the season.
Jackson is in the second year of a four-year, $52 million deal with the Cubs. During that time, he has racked up 291 innings with the team and posted a disappointing 5.26 ERA.
When Jackson was signed, a point of emphasis was on his ability to eat innings. But he has thrown more than six innings only three times this season, and hasn’t done so since May 17.
“Coming back from the break, I’ve been feeling pretty good,” Jackson said. “I feel like I can throw strikes and pound the strike zone. It’s just one of those things that you work off that and try to go deep in games and save the bullpen a little bit.”
Though the results haven’t been exactly as hoped, Jackson is trying to focus on the positives in his recent outings. The righty has walked only one batter -- which came after his hand cramped Thursday night and he lost command of his fastball -- in his 10 1/3 innings since the All-Star break.
“I haven’t been walking a lot of people; earlier in the season I was struggling with walks and big innings,” Jackson said. “But I’ve been feeling pretty good after the break.”
Despite what Jackson feels has been better play of late, it’s hard to imagine a player with his recent performance and current contract garnering much trade interest.
Prior to joining the Cubs, Jackson had a 4.29 ERA and averaged 193 innings per season since becoming a full-time starter in 2007.
The Cubs’ best bet might be to hope Jackson can soon show signs of returning to the innings eater with a league-average ERA they thought they were getting when he signed with the team more than 18 months ago.