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Could Cubs’ Edwin Jackson be fit for Yankees?
PHOENIX – It was a year ago almost to the day that the Cubs and the New York Yankees pulled off a deal that shed the Cubs of their highest-priced player.
Could they do it again this time around?
Scouts turned out in droves for Friday’s first game back from the All-Star break to see a matchup of teams still in full sale mode leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline – with a no-accident pitching matchup of struggling, expensive former All-Star pitchers.
Neither Arizona’s Trevor Cahill nor the Cubs’ Edwin Jackson inspired intimidator visions of David Price – or necessarily even Vincent Price.
But the Yankees – who moved to within four games of first place in the AL East with a win over Cincinnati Friday – are desperate for pitching with 80 percent of their rotation down with injuries.
They’re the one team with the financial muscle to take on at least some bad paper to get some semblance of major-league starting depth. And the Cubs, for one, are motivated to move Jackson – who didn’t exactly otherwise merit a start in the second-half opener.
“You’ve seen crazier things happen,” said Jackson, who pitched into the sixth inning and left with a lead before the bullpen surrendered it in a 5-4 loss. “Anybody can be a candidate to be traded.”
Even guys in the middle of four-year, $52 million deals. But an $8 million chunk of that came in a signing bonus, and about $26 million remains on the deal that runs through 2016. The Cubs would almost certainly have to eat a sizeable amount of the balance in a trade, but any savings would go into the baseball operations’ vault for future use – including potentially a frontline starting pitcher.
“At the end of the day as a player, you can’t really worry about what you can’t control,” said Jackson, who has been traded six times in his career.
Aside from the lack of a victory – and the 15th non-quality start in 20 outings – Jackson was especially effective at keeping the ball down, keeping his velocity up, getting ground balls and pitching with enough command to avoid any walks.
Eleven of his 16 outs came on ground balls, and three more on strikeouts – only one on a ball in the air, and that was a foul popup in the sixth.
“I know that he’s the guy that we seem to pick on and I thought he did a great job today,” said manager Rick Renteria, who could have been Jackson’s marketing manager the way he sounded. “He was really composed. He was really throwing the ball hard – I think he got up to 96, and was pretty consistent staying at the top range of his velocity chart.
“He minimized damage, looked very confident, very poised. … just a nice job.”