CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs pitcher Edwin Jackson still believes in himself, but he might be the lone person in town with those feelings. It wouldn’t be a shock, by any means, if Jackson pitched his last game in a Cubs uniform Friday in their 14-5 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers -- though right now he's scheduled for one more start this season.
The lasting memory for him could be not getting out of the first inning as he gave up five runs on four hits and a walk. One hit left the park, a three-run home run by Matt Kemp.
“It’s been a pretty sloppy year, to say the least,” Jackson said after seeing his ERA balloon to 6.38.
Jackson hadn’t pitched in a month because of a minor injury, and with the hype surrounding mound opponent Clayton Kershaw going for win No.20, it was the righty’s chance to prove he still has something left in the tank. Instead, Kershaw led 6-0 before he even took the mound.
“It wasn’t necessarily the outing we were looking for from Edwin today,” manager Rick Renteria said. “We have to sit down and talk about and then see where we’re at. It would be difficult for me to say how we would be heading into the winter.”
Can it be anywhere besides moving on from Jackson at this point? It’s probably best for him and the team – though it will cost the Cubs up to $22 million, no matter how they get rid of him. That’s what he’s owed over the next two years.
“I can definitely take the good with the bad,” Jackson said. “I can accept and man up to what I’ve done. I’m not trying to run or hide from anything I’ve done on the field.”
It’s not like Jackson wants to go play golf for the next few years. He wants a shot at turning things around. And maybe he deserves one, just not with the Cubs. It’s becoming painfully obvious a change of scenery is the least Cubs brass can do for him -- and the fans. Back-to-back years of a near plus-5.00 ERA -- and in this case a plus-6.00 ERA -- usually gets you moved out of town, no matter what a contract says.
“It’s super easy to get negative in the game of baseball,” Jackson said. “You have to stay believing in yourself.”
In a way, Jackson has made this an easy decision for the Cubs. This isn’t about fan negativity or finding a sabermetric peripheral for him, as some were doing after last season. This is about moving on from a bad situation. It may be no one’s fault but baseball fate, but trying to salvage something here would be a waste of time and energy. Things are too far gone for Jackson, especially in a situation where the Cubs are trying to develop a winning culture. Luckily, he’s been a good citizen through his trials and tribulations.
“It may seem far-fetched and some people may not think so, but I still think my best years are to come,” Jackson said. “I really don’t care what anyone else thinks, it’s a matter of going out and proving it. I still believe I will do that.”
It just can’t be with the Cubs. But you knew that by now.