By Shane Riordan
What is Theo Epstein doing?
If you’re a Cubs fan, how much longer can you remain content? And don’t get me wrong — The subject is a tired one. I’m no different than you. I’m done answering the question: “When will the Cubs be ready to compete?” (Take the poll below:)
But seriously… When will the Cubs be ready to compete?
Certainly not next season. Certainly not the season after that. But 2016? Maybe? Jorge Soler and Javier Baez will most likely have at least a half season of major league experience underneath their respective belts, and Edwin Jackson will be 33 and in the final year of his 4-year/$52 million deal, possibly over-performing in a crucial contract year.
Speaking of that contract… My Lord.
In an attempt to patch up a porous rotation, Theo and GM Jed Hoyer went into the open market and acquired then free agent journey man Jackson. Now, if the money’s right, that’s not a horrible pickup. The right-hander would absolutely aid in the development of younger pitchers, and has playoff experience to boot. But, the money was not good.
When you fork over $11 million a year and a multimillion dollar signing bonus to any pitcher, you might expect a few things:
- Said pitcher will most likely be amongst the league leaders in strikeouts. No, not even close. Jackson is just third on the Cubs staff, behind Travis Wood and Jeff Samardzija.
- He’ll most likely have an ERA sub-3.5. Nah, Jackson trails Wood, Samardzija, and the mustached newcomer Carlos Villaneuva in that measure.
- Okay, but he has to have a bunch of wins, right? Absolutely not. Just eight, as a matter of fact.
Jackson did lead the National League in something, though. Losses. He notched up 18 of those. So, yes, with numbers like that, $11 million is too much money to award a pitcher per season. But does that necessarily mean Theo and company will continue to throw money at mediocrity? If you’re a Cubs fan, you better hope not.
And in all fairness, we have to give the Cubs’ brass more time than this, right? Right? RIGHT? As a level-headed, objective Chicago baseball fan, yes, you do. If you’re a Cubs fan, you know what losing feels like. Nobody has to describe to you the pain of having something right in front of your face only to have it ripped away like an adult squirrel digging to get the peanut just a little bit –or a lot– quicker than the baby.
Be patient. Your time will come.
And if you don’t keep it down, so help me God, I’ll turn this car around. Listen to “Nothing but Net” only on WCRX and WCRXFM every Tuesday evening from 7 to 9pm.