Edwin Jackson is feeling pretty comfortable in Chicago these days.
That comfort could help explain why Jackson is in the midst of the best stretch of his Cubs career thus far. In his last three starts, Jackson has allowed four runs over 20 innings with 23 strikeouts, with only three walks and one home run allowed. The real irony here is that the better Jackson pitches now, the more likely he pitches his way out of town.
I asked a teammate if Jackson had changed anything or adopted a different approach of late to explain his recent success. The feeling was the pitcher more likely has just settled in and made the necessary sometimes additional adjustments that come with being a first-year Cub.
Jackson didn't want to make any excuses about last year when he spoke with ESPN Chicago's Jesse Rogers.
“(Last season) I felt comfortable, but I just didn’t get the job done,” he said. “I started off slow this year, but I felt good. So you go off that feeling and continue to work hard and continue to battle. It’s a long season.”
After being a part of 8 different teams, Jackson was finally given a long-term deal (4 year/$52 Million), with the idea of being a building block around here. That contract likely contributed to some added pressure on Jackson to live up to being the first major signing Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer made for the organization.
Jackson will always be seen by most as the consolation prize to the pursuit of Anibal Sanchez. Since then, Epstein has even gone on record saying the front office may have jumped the gun on the timeline with that signing.
Adding pitching is always a good idea, yet the weird thing is this front office has shown they can unearth mid-rotation guys like Paul Maholm, Scott Feldman, and Jason Hammel much more economically than they did with Jackson.
Rogers speculates that Jackson could end up pitching his way back into the big picture for the Cubs, though it is much more likely he would make himself attractive to a contender this summer, effectively pitching his way out of it. We could see the Cubs once again trade away 60% of their starting rotation this summer.
Either way, as long as the orginization is still in this mode, it is never wise for a pitcher to get comfortable in Chicago.
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