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edwin jackson featureI’m headed back to Wrigley Field later this morning for another round of touring the historic park. Some of the areas were closed yesterday thanks to the day game, so I’ll get a look at more today, which I’ll be blasting out on Twitter.

  • The future for Edwin Jackson is as murky as it’s been in his two disappointing seasons with the Cubs. Although manager Rick Renteria denied after the game that Jackson’s rotation spot is in jeopardy, it becomes harder and harder to see the Cubs (1) giving starts to Jackson the rest of the way (2) at the expense of guys they might need to/want to see get starts this year for offseason evaluation purposes. Whether a move to the bullpen to close out the year, or a longshot attempt at a trade is in the offing, it feels like something will change before the end of the year.
  • And speaking of all of that, Dan Straily, who starts tomorrow for the Cubs, has seen his velocity tick back up in his last few starts at Iowa thanks to some mechanical adjustments (Tribune). The velocity problem was seen by many as the reason for his struggles this year in Oakland/Sacramento. I am not suggesting that Straily is going to replace Jackson in the rotation, but I will note that, if the Cubs wanted to do that, the schedule would permit it, because Travis Wood could go today and then again on Wednesday (Jackson’s next scheduled start) on normal rest, with Straily following the next day. There’s also Jacob Turner, who pitched 2.1 innings flawlessly in relief of Jackson yesterday. And then there’s Felix Doubront, who could be ready to pitch with the Cubs as soon as late next week.
  • All of this takes place against the backdrop of Jackson’s contract ($11 million each of the next two years) and tantalizing upside. You keep hoping that he’ll put it back together and be the guy that his fastball and slider tell you he could be.
  • (Aside: if the Cubs do add two sure-fire starting pitchers this offseason, you have to wonder what will happen not only with Jackson, but also Travis Wood. As a second-time arbitration player, Wood will make upwards of $5 million next year, with one year to go before free agency. He’s had a down season that could arguably be attributed to some expected statistical regression, and the Cubs have so many 4/5 options heading into next year. It’s conceivable Wood could be shopped after the season, given all of that. In the short term, you hope he finishes out the year strong, giving the Cubs options (and also ultimately helping himself).)
  • We all know that Jackson is among the slowest-paced starting pitchers in baseball, and I found this comment from Rick Renteria to Cubs.com interesting: “I think a lot of things that we see is his tempo, to see if we can get him on the hill a little quicker, and see if he can speed up that process. We all know when you have someone who has a quicker pace, quicker tempo, the whole game seems to flow better.” Is it just me, or is Renteria simply saying Jackson needs to speed things up?
  • Ryan Dempster says he’s happy that one of the pieces the Cubs got in his trade to Texas is showing some nice things with the big league club (CSN). He always hoped the Cubs could get something good, even as he understandably wanted a say in where he ended up. Randall Delgado, for whatever it’s worth, has totaled 0.2 WAR over the past two seasons with the Diamondbacks.
  • Nate Schierholtz has officially been released, and is now a free agent.
  • The Cubs did some good while having some fun:

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