Prior to the 2013 season the Chicago Cubs signed Edwin Jackson to a four-year, $52 million deal which seemed pretty reasonable for a guy that has thrown a no-hitter before and consistently takes the ball every fifth day.
However, since making his debut for the Cubs, things have not gone according to plan. Up to this point Jackson has a record of 13-28 with a 5.23 ERA since putting on a Cubs uniform. This is not what the Cubs or Jackson had envisioned when coming to an agreement before the 2013 season.
When the Cubs acquired Jackson they were not expecting him to win 20 games or hold an ERA of 2.00. They were expecting to get someone that they could put in the middle of their rotation, ideally a number 3 or 4 starter that would eat innings and win some games. He has been able to stay healthy, as usual, and made 32 starts last season. Jackson is currently on pace for the same this year. In that sense, the Cubs have gotten what they expected out of Jackson.
Prior to joining the Cubs, Jackson was a pitcher that had a big arm- his fastball would comfortably sit in the 94-96 mph range. He has since lost velocity on his fastball which was oftentimes his best pitch. He now sits anywhere from 92-94 mph which can be a big difference for someone that was accustomed to hitting 98 mph when he needed to. Although Jackson has struggled with the Cubs, he could still provide some value to a team that is in contention and seeking a middle of the rotation arm.
Jackson has always proven to be very durable and could provide depth to a team in contention. Jackson also has experience pitching in pennant races and has even made numerous postseason starts. Acquiring Jackson would allow a team to attain his services for at least two seasons has he still has two years remaining on his contract. The issue with trading Jackson is the contract in which he is signed to.
After this season Jackson will still be owed $26 million over 2 years. If the Cubs are to trade Jackson they may have to eat some salary as they did with the Alfonso Soriano deal last season (which they are still paying for). Doing so may allow other teams to gauge more interest in Jackson as they will not have to pay all of the remaining salary on his deal.
Trading Jackson will prove to be tough, but would be a great step moving forward for the Cubs. It would allow the Cubs to rid themselves of a contract that has not worked out and hopefully take some of his money off of the books for the future. Jackson alone may not yield the Cubs any great prospects, but if he were thrown into a deal with other players such as Nate Schierholtz, the return may be a little better. The Cubs should try and trade Jackson in any manner they can as it will provide both with a fresh start.