1/16 Caravan stop, E-Jax & trade rumors

Manager Rick Renteria joined Anthony Rizzo and Edwin Jackson on Thursday to help Cubs staff spruce up a Chicago school. The Cubs made a winter caravan stop at Casals School of Excellence, where they painted murals on the walls of the gymnasium and cafeteria, decorated a computer room, built benches and cabinets for reading spaces, and re-designed a room for tutoring. Earlier in the day, the Cubs staff stopped at the 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines to serve lunch to about 250 military service personnel.

The caravan tour is a lead in to the Cubs Convention, which opens Friday at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers. This will be Renteria’s first convention.

“They’ve said it’ll be something I’ve never experienced before in my life and from a few conversations I’ve had with different people, it seems that will be the case,” said Renteria, who will answer fans questions in a Saturday afternoon session. “It is evident that the city of Chicago loves their Cubs and they want the Cubs to have success and we feel the same way.”

* The winter fan fest also is the first chance for some of the Cubs to meet their new manager. Jackson is coming off a season in which he led the Major Leagues in losses with 18. It wasn’t how the right-hander wanted to start the first year of his four-year, $52 million deal with the Cubs. Renteria’s message to Jackson? Learn from what happened and move forward.

“That’s the only way we’ll move the club in the direction we’d like it to go,” Renteria said.

Jackson, who welcomed a new daughter in the offseason, was eager to take Renteria’s advice.

“As an athlete, when you have a season like I had last year, if anything it makes you more eager to start the next season up,” Jackson said. “That edge comes a little quicker and you’re more ready and more excited to go out and perform the way you know you can perform.”

What about Renteria?

“He seems like he’s ready to go,” Jackson said of his new skipper. “He’s excited about being a manager of the team. He definitely sees the potential the team has and he understands what we’re capable of doing.”

Jackson said he had no clue Dale Sveum would be dismissed after the 2013 ended. Maybe change is good?

“I hope so — I’ve changed a lot of teams,” said Jackson, who is playing for his eighth team. “I hope change can be good. Change doesn’t hurt. We have a great team, we have a great manager who is eager to get out and be with the team and help the team learn and teach us different things. We’re ready to go.”

* Renteria is thinking about his lineup but said he has plenty of time before Opening Day, March 31. His plan is to have all the players be able to get on base, get ’em over, and get ’em in.

“The reality is if the guys do what they’re suposed to do, it makes it a lot easier for me to set up the lineup,” Renteria said.

* Jeff Samardzija’s name has been mentioned often in trade rumors but Rizzo would like to see the right-hander stay with the Cubs.

“Jeff’s a good friend of mine, so I don’t want to see him get traded,” Rizzo said. “You don’t want that to happen but it’s part of the business.”

— Carrie Muskat


52 million shot to he**. Pray tell Mr. Jackson, you’ve bounced around the majors with a boatload of managers and it hasn’t seemed to help a bit. Personally, if I were Renteria, I’d tell you you’re on a very short leash and you’d better come to spring camp ready to roll, in shape and any personal baggage stuffed away. Better man up bro for the season, otherwise the “friendly confines” won’t seem so friendly anymore. And you can take that to the bank when you go to count your cash!

Sure, Jackson had a bad year, but his overall track record says he’s better than that. He’s still kind of young and wasn’t hurt, so maybe it was just an off year for him. Plus, Jackson isn’t exactly the first free agent to have trouble their first year in a Cubs uniform. Moises Alou had an awful first season with the Cubs in 2002, but then bounced back to have all-star numbers in 2003 & 2004. Jackson is still under contract for another 3 years and 39 million. It’s not as simple as saying if you don’t pitch well then you’re going to the bullpen or AAA. But due to the facts I mentioned above, I’m willing to give him the 2014 season to get his act together. So no boo birds when he gives up his first home run, no tough talk when he takes his first loss please. Just let him pitch and we’ll see what we’re dealing with moving forward.

I think Edwin Jackson needs to ask himself, what can I do, to be a better pitcher? He may find he can start with fielding his position much better. Maybe he can take a second and think about the pitch he is going to throw, 14 Wild Pitches is alot. 59 walks, 7 intentional walks and 5 hit batters sure add alot of pitches during the course of your games during a season.
At bat, only 5 SACS all year, two walks. MR Jackson, you can help yourself and team out more by advancing runners, seeing more pitches.
Jacksons STATS show a total of 13 unearned Runs during the year. Just my opinion, but it seemed like when there was an error made behind him, he just could not get the next out. A few deep breaths and concentration on the next hitter might go along ways. Dont panic, slow the game down a tad.

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