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The Cubs are shopping Edwin Jackson. Good luck with that.

Jul 25, 2014, 10:38 AM EST

Chicago Cubs v St. Louis Cardinals Getty Images

Jon Heyman reports that the Cubs are shopping starter Edwin Jackson. The Edwin Jackson with the 5-11 record and the 5.68 ERA and who, by most measures, is among the worst starters with a regular gig in all of baseball. Oh, and he’s due $26 million through 2016.

There are a lot of teams looking for starters, but I feel like they’ll keep looking.

  1. chip56 - Jul 25, 2014 at 10:45 AM

    Oooh I left Edwin out when doing the pantheon of awful contracts last night:

    (in no particular order)
    Howard
    Sabathia
    Alex
    Pujols
    Hamilton
    Jackson
    Carl Crawford

    • 18thstreet - Jul 25, 2014 at 11:19 AM

      Welllll ….

      A bad contract prevents you from doing other things. And an overpaid pitcher doesn’t prevent you from signing another pitcher the way that an overpaid position player can. For example, the Phillies HAVE to play Howard at first or cut him. (At least in the AL, you can consider putting a guy at DH.) But even if a guy like Edwin Jackson sucks, he’s still probably good enough (and how sad is this?) to be your 5th starter.

      I’d also say that, if you win a due to a guy, then it’s not that bad a contract. Yes, Sabathia’s deal looks awful now, but the Yankees don’t win 2009 without him. (The exception here would be A-Rod, because the PED suspension and its attendant drama cancels out the positive contributions.)

      Someone smarter than me could come up with a matrix for rating bad contracts:
      (1) Money
      (2) Time
      (3) Did the contract ever work? (I.e., Sabathia)
      (4) What were you thinking at the time it was signed? Is it defensible (I.e., Hamilton’s deal was more understandable than Howard’s)?
      (5) Are you stuck playing the guy, no matter what?
      (5a) Does the contract prevent you from calling up a better, younger player (I.e., Edwin Jackson isn’t tying the Cubs hands)?

      Anything else?

      • derklempner - Jul 25, 2014 at 12:25 PM

        I think that covers it pretty well. If you use Dan Uggla as an example:

        (1) Not too much. The Braves were expecting Uggla to continue batting .260 while hitting 30+ home runs and driving in 90. They knew he’d walk a lot but strike out at least twice as often, and would still post an OBP around .350, so not too bad, IMO, for $12.4 million a year, since that kind of pop and run production was being paid much more around the same time (i.e., Howard).
        (2) Uggla was 31 when his first season in Atlanta started. A five-year contract at that point might have been one or two years longer than necessary.
        (3) To say Uggla’s contract ever worked would to be looking at only his first year in Atlanta, and then it’s still marginal at best. He hit .233, had 36 HRs, and 82 RBI. A big decline in average and a slight decline in RBIs, but the BIG difference wa his slugging went down by about 70 or 80 points in comparison to the previous six years.
        (4) You could say the contract was defensible, since Uggla was a power hitter, and at a postion where you don’t regularly see that kind of production.
        (5) Obviously not. LOL.
        (5a) Again, obviously not.

      • felser - Jul 25, 2014 at 12:28 PM

        good stuff there, thanks.

      • surefooted1 - Jul 25, 2014 at 12:50 PM

        Sabathia is technically on his second Yankee contract. The first 3 years were pure gold. When he opted out, the Yankees should have let him walk.

      • 18thstreet - Jul 25, 2014 at 1:00 PM

        Oh, yeah. I forgot about that.

        Same deal with A-Rod. If the Yankees had let each of those guys walk, they would have looked GOLDEN.

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - Jul 25, 2014 at 2:11 PM

        Sabathia is technically on his second Yankee contract. The first 3 years were pure gold. When he opted out, the Yankees should have let him walk.

        Sabathia never opted out. He used the threat of an opt out to get the Yanks to extend his contract. But he never became a FA (a la Arod).

  2. icanspeel - Jul 25, 2014 at 10:52 AM

    You know he is bad when you look at his stats and see in 2 games this year he has given up 12 runs in 9 innings to the Padres.

  3. chc4 - Jul 25, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    Yeah and the Braves are shopping BJ Upton, Phillies are shopping Ryan Howard and the Giants were shopping Barry Zito for like 6 years.

  4. rosloe62 - Jul 25, 2014 at 12:31 PM

    There’s a weapon teams are going to want. lol

  5. rosloe62 - Jul 25, 2014 at 12:32 PM

    Maybe they meant Cubs management is going shopping with Jackson, maybe to Target or Walmart.

  6. penguins87and71 - Jul 25, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    He would be perfect in a Pittsburgh Pirates jersey. I know I may sound crazy. Ray Searage has a history of turning around pitchers. He turned around Liriano, Grilli, Melancon, Burnett, and Volquez. Why couldn’t he do it with Jackson?

    • mazblast - Jul 25, 2014 at 2:09 PM

      I’ve been a Pirates fan for over 50 years (first MLB game was at Forbes Field), so I’d like to see Searage work another near-miracle. I’m also a craps player. What that teaches me is that no matter how long a good roll lasts, sooner or later you’re going to seven-out. I’d rather it be on someone with much more upside than Jackson.

  7. conjecture101 - Jul 25, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    Most measures? He is 62nd in Xfip and has a better WAR than All Star pitcher Alfredo Simon.

    • Uncle Charlie - Jul 25, 2014 at 2:06 PM

      There are some pitchers who can out-pitch their peripherals like Matt Cain. Then there’s Edwin Jackson whose advance stats make him look like a number 3 on paper but in reality pitches like the worst #5 in the majors.

    • [citation needed] fka COPO - Jul 25, 2014 at 2:15 PM

      He is 62nd in Xfip

      Jackson has over 1500 IP in the majors with a slightly above average HR/FB rate (10.1) and definitely above average BABIP (.311) in his career. Using a stat that normalizes those two rate stats is a big disingenuous when he’s shown no ability to pitch to the average.

      He hasn’t pitched as bad as his ERA would indicate, but he’s not worth the $13M per year he’s getting paid.

  8. edelmanfanclub - Jul 25, 2014 at 12:54 PM

    Tried to find some silver lining anywhere, but really can’t. Awful home/away splits. ERA over 4 every month, bad day/night splits. Bad ERA+, bad WHIP, bad BAA. 2 years and change remaining I wonder how long they will give him. I guess this year and possibly some of next.

  9. jake1656 - Jul 25, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    Maybe somebody needs a batting practice pitcher to improve their slumping hitters confidence.

  10. rickrenteria - Jul 25, 2014 at 2:37 PM

    Jackson quit on his Cubs teammates last night, coming out of the game in the 6th with “cramping” in his hand, which even play-by-play man Len Kasper questioned. Then, as usual, the wheels fell off and the first 9 hitters of the inning scored. Good riddance to Theo’s first big free agent signing.

  11. whocares44 - Jul 25, 2014 at 3:59 PM

    Someday maybe the Owners will learn to say. NO MORE DUMB MONEY LONG TERM CONTRACTS.
    One two years at a time. 2-5 million a year. Two year contract a most.
    If they don’t like it, tell them No Thanks.. Bye!

    This one. Rickett’s will eat 95% of it… And get nothing back..Ha! ha!..
    One Dumb move to start with..

  12. sumerduckman - Jul 25, 2014 at 5:03 PM

    I just spotted Theo and Edwin in the housewares section at Walmart. He had talked some old lady into trading Edwin for a set of Ginsu knives, until he mentioned her picking up the rest of his contract, and she kicked him right in the doo-dads.

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