Following the Chicago Cubs’ 8-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants last night, manager, Rick Renteria made his first public allusion to a possible role change for Edwin Jackson. Jackson’s struggles continued last night as he allowed seven runs on eight hits and two walks in just 2.2 innings. Jackson is now 6-14 with a major league leading 6.09 ERA (among qualified starters). Fans have been calling for Jackson’s removal from the rotation for months but now that it seems like the decision is finally upon us, who are the most likely candidates to take his place?
Turner has only appeared in one game since being acquired by the Cubs back on August 8th but it was a strong outing. In relief of Edwin Jackson, Turner threw a perfect 2.1 innings and struck out one. Turner is the most coveted successor of Edwin Jackson by Cub fans but there are still a number of hurdles to jump. First, although Turner has a decent track record, his performance in 2014 has been just as bad, if not worse, than the Edwin Jackson’s. In 20 games (12 starts) for the Miami Marlins, Turner posted a 4-7 record with a 5.97 ERA and an opponent batting average of .328. And second, Turner hasn’t started a game since August 3rd and has had only one appearance since then (the aforementioned relief appearance) and it is unknown if he is in shape to make a return to the rotation. However, if he is able to regain the form he had in 2013 that allowed him to post a 3.74 ERA he could be a nice addition to the back end of the Cubs’ rotation, and at only 23 years old.
Immediately following his acquisition from the Boston Red Sox, Felix Doubront was placed on the 15-day disabled list and has since made two rehab starts for the Iowa Cubs. According to Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago, Doubront will join the Cubs and start against the St. Louis Cardinals on August 30th. It is uncertain at this point if Doubront will become a fixture in the rotation or if his presence is simply for the doubleheader that is scheduled for that day. Doubront went 2-4 with a 6.07 ERA in 17 games (10 starts) with the Red Sox earlier this year before he was demoted to the minor leagues. But like Turner, Doubront was once a prized arm and has shown the potential to be great, as evidence by his 1.29 ERA in the 2013 post season.
The Cubs recalled Dan Straily on Saturday to make a spot start against the New York Mets and to give everyone in the rotation an extra day of rest, but his performance was marginal at best. Straily picked up the loss after giving up five earned runs on four hits and three walks in 5.1 innings of work. Straily also struggled in his stint with the Oakland Athletics earlier this year, going 1-2 with a 4.93 ERA in seven starts before being sent to the minor leagues. However, Straily has shown improvement since he joined the Iowa Cubs, posting a 3-3 record and a 3.00 ERA in seven starts.
The Chicago Cubs also have a number of minor league options to choose from that we discussed earlier this week. Whoever the Cubs choose (assuming Edwin Jackson is removed from the rotation), the next five weeks will be used as an audition for a spot in next year’s rotation. The Cubs may also choose to use more than one option to fill the void in order to get a better gauge on what type of major league talent they have available to them. Either way they decide to go, there is certainly no shortage of arms to choose from.
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