(CBS) — Edwin Jackson’s future as a Cub will remain in doubt going into 2015.
After another embarrassing start on Friday, any other starting assignments this season or moving forward would appear questionable.
“He was still scheduled to have a start in Milwaukee,” Manager Rick Renteria. “I haven’t had a conversation about him with us as a group to see how we will proceed. We will have to talk; we still have other guys (to look at). We will make those decisions in the very near future.”
Jackson, making his first start in a month (Aug. 20), was hit hard .The Dodgers scored five runs in the first, before he was pulled by manager Rick Renteria with two outs. The pitcher’s ERA and record have begun to challenge the worst two-year composite in Cub history. Jackson was 8-18 with a 4.98 ERA in 2013. If he is shut down for 2014, those numbers (6-15 win-loss record and 6.36 ERA) do not appear to fit in the club’s immediate or long-term plans.
That is regardless of the $22 million remaining on his contract, through 2016.
“I want to say I had three at bats where I had two strikes on hitters,” Jackson said. “I just wasn’t able to put them away.”
In Jackson’s last three starts, he has lasted a total of eight innings, allowing 17 runs and 20 hits. The right-handed pitcher was placed on the disabled list on Aug. 21 with a right lat strain.
Moving forward, Cub executives must decide whether to bite the bullet on a contract and a situation that appears untenable.
“I am a pretty composed person and I can man-up on what I have done,” Jackson said. “I am not trying to run and hide from anything I have done on the field. It may be easy to get complacent, but I work hard in the off season and I am not slacking off.”
Jackson signed a four-year, $52 million contract with the Cubs in January 2013. Chicago, in desperate need of a young veteran who could supply valuable innings, made the deal after missing out on Anibal Sanchez. Sanchez turned down $80 million with the Cubs, taking a similar deal with Detroit.
The Jackson contract paid him an $8 million signing bonus and four years of $11 million per season. With $22 million remaining, the Cub ownership group can and will write off 40 percent of the contract each season, which they are entitled to do on all player contracts. Baseball players are considered assets and therefore all player contracts can be looked upon after the fiscal year as “depreciation of assets,” allowing a 40 percent write off.
Jackson is considered a class act and a stand-up guy in the clubhouse. Despite his struggles, he has maintained an even disposition and work ethic throughout. The 31-year-old pitcher has performed for eight different clubs in his 12-year major league career.
“This is a tough game,” Jackson admitted after the 14-5 loss to LA. “Only the strong survive. It would be easy to get negative. You have to stay confident and stay believing in yourself. It may seem far-fetched and some people might not believe it, but I think my best years are still to come. I really don’t care what someone else thinks .It is just a matter of going out and proving it.”
If that is the case for the forlorn starter, his vision may have to include wearing another uniform to get it done.