Edwin Jackson can afford to say all the right things … literally. His mediocrity has been rewarded with over $51 million in career earnings, and the Cubs are on the hook for another $22 million in the next two seasons.
So what does he care if he gets traded. He’s a mercenary, and not a very good one at that. If he took part in the 100 Years War it would have been over in five, and he would have definitely been on the losing side. But he would have taken his cash and moved on to the next sucker.
Let’s take a look at what he said last night after giving up five earned runs to see his ERA balloon to 5.68 before he left with hand cramps.
“I think I’ve always looked at it the same,” Jackson said, according to ESPN.com. “It’s one of those things that you can’t worry about and you can’t control. That’s pretty much been my take on it since the first time that I’ve been traded. I’ve been traded after All-Star years. I’ve been traded after subpar seasons. I’ve been traded after bad seasons. I’ve been traded in the middle of seasons. Most of the time when you see people get traded, they go to a playoff contending team, so all trades aren’t bad.
“At the present time, I’m right here with Chicago, and that’s what I’m focusing on. I’m not really focusing too far down the road.”
It’s generic “this is what I’m supposed to say” stuff, but he doesn’t sound too broken up, right? That’s because he knows that road he’s talking about is paved with gold, not matter how badly he sucks.
I don’t want to pick on Jackson because it’s not his fault that teams are willing to pay him exorbitant amounts of money for being less than average at his chosen profession. Hell, I’d love to get a raise for performing worse at my job than I normally do.
But that doesn’t mean that as fans we have to like it. There’s nothing positive about having these types of players on your favorite team. When I say mercenary, I’m not joking. The Cubs are Jackson’s eighth team.
He was coming off a 10-11 campaign with a 4.03 ERA for Washington — really pedestrian stuff — when the Cubs gave him a four-year, $52 million contract. Usually, as fans we ignore the ridiculous money these players, even bad players, make in professional sports. At your own job, it would drive you crazy if some stiff made 25 times more than you do for the same job. But we’re obsessed with our teams and suspend that reality.
Not with contracts like Jackson’s. From the get-go, most fans wondered why someone so average could make so much money. Then he went out and lost a league-leading 18 games. This year he just stinks, no other way to say it.
Now what? Baseball history tells us that some team will take him off the Cubs’ hands. The Yankees really want to make the playoffs in Derek Jeter’s last season and desperately need starting pitching. They’ll convince themselves, like eight other teams did, that Jackson has great stuff and just needs the right team to harness it.
Theo and Co. will have to pay a big chunk of the salary to make it happen, and Cubs fans will bitch that the EJax Experience happened at all but will be happy that he’s gone.
And how will Jackson feel? Fine. The big fat numbers on the checks don’t change, just the name of the sucker paying them.
You can reach us at Cubs Fan Therapy.