Edwin Jackson has been traded six times and has pitched for seven teams in the past eight seasons. You’d be excused, then, for assuming that there’s something teams don’t like about that guy. But yesterday, when he was announced as the Cubs’ latest acquisition, there was no suggestion of that at all. Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com reports:
“We did all the digging we could do,” Hoyer said. “The reasons for him moving around certainly weren’t (because) he wasn’t a good teammate or didn’t work hard. It was kind of more contractual.”
As Jackson said with a smile: “Everyone likes me.”
For what it’s worth, I’ve never heard anything about Jackson being disliked or anything. In addition to the contractual stuff — which has mattered the past couple of seasons, as everyone has known he would not sign a long-term contract before reaching free agency — I think there is just something unique about him as a pitcher that has made him ultimately tradeable.
He’s a lottery ticket. Or a coin in a fountain. He’s got great stuff at times, and everyone can watch him pitch for a while and imagine him paying off huge. But at other times, when one is being rational, one can see his flaws and risks. In this regard he reminds me of Sid Fernandez. And to some extent Matt Clement. Guys who, at times, look unhittable and at other times, man do they get hit.
Anyway, because of his highs and lows, this back and forth happens with Jackson more than it does with other pitchers. It leads to a greater-than-usual frequency of one team (his own) being tired of him and another team wanting a piece of that lottery ticket. That’s my theory anyway.
Maybe he pays off for the Cubs. Maybe he doesn’t. But it’ll be interesting to see how he’s handled now that he’s a long-term investment rather than a lottery ticket.
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.