As we discussed yesterday, Rafael Soriano was looking increasingly ready to make his debut with the Chicago Cubs this year, and, with his arrival, the Cubs were going to have to make a tough roster decision.
According to multiple reports, the Cubs made that decision today, and will designate Jackson for assignment tomorrow when Soriano arrives. That will give the Cubs 10 days to trade, waive, or release Jackson – or up until July 30.
Jackson, 31, has been working out of the bullpen this year, pitching well in mop-up duty, but pitching poorly at even the faintest whiff of medium or high-leverage. His contract, which pays him $11 million this year and $11 million next year, was the only thing keeping him on the roster.
I’ll have more on Jackson’s time with the Cubs when the DFA resolves itself. For now, I’ll say only that Jackson was uniformly regarded as an excellent person, an excellent teammate, and a guy who desperately wanted to perform much better in Chicago.
As for whether the Cubs can trade Jackson, it’s unlikely, but not impossible. I can conceive of a team or two being interested in getting him under team control through 2016 at a minimum cost (if Jackson is released, he’ll be a free agent, and could sign for the minimum with a team through 2015; in other words, right now is a team’s opportunity to get him for cheap for a little longer). Is there a team out there willing to take on a million or two in salary? Desiring to shed a bad contract of their own? Sure seems like a rebuilding club like the Phillies should have interest in Jackson for, say, a couple million bucks. That’s a small price to pay to let him pitch in your rotation and see if he can turn into a trade piece.
We’ll find out if there’s anything doing over the next 10 days.