CHICAGO — The Cubs released right-hander Edwin Jackson on Monday, one week after he was designated for assignment.
Jackson, 31, was 2-1 with a 3.19 ERA in 23 relief appearances for the Cubs this season. Signed to a four-year deal worth $52 million before the 2013 season, Jackson struggled badly over his first two years with the Cubs, going 14-33 with a 5.58 ERA and was moved to the bullpen near the end of last season.
Cubs general manager Theo Epstein said the team would "really like" to make a move before Friday's non-waiver trade deadline, and he gave some hints about which direction the team is looking to go.
"I do think if we do something on the bigger end it'll involve players that will help us beyond this year," Epstein said Chiago hosted Colorado on Monday night. "If we do something on the smaller side, it'll probably be more for a rental player. And if we do nothing it will be because we couldn't find anything rational that we could actually do.
"I don't know which of those three directions it will go yet."
Epstein made it clear Chicago wouldn't empty its well-regarded farm system for a player heading to free agency after the season. One player involved in trade rumors who fits the criteria of long-term control is Philadelphia's Cole Hamels, who pitched a no-hitter against the Cubs on Saturday and is under contract through 2018.
"I think he was a pretty good pitcher before he no-hit us," Epstein said. "Pretty familiar with him."
Hamels would also represent a big commitment in terms of players and money, though Epstein said he doesn't "necessarily think we're close to trading for a big contract."
"Right now, it's not necessarily something that we're close to — giving up a ton of talent and taking on a big contract," Epstein said. "Maybe that changes between now and Friday but right now we're not close to something like that."
The Cubs began the day 2 1/2 games behind the surging San Francisco Giants for the second wild-card spot in the National League. Chicago has lost four of five and is coming off a sweep by the lowly Phillies.
"You can't get too high when things are going well. You can't get too low when they're not," Epstein said. "We were in a competitive race for the postseason a week ago, two weeks ago. We still are today. We're just in a little bit worse position than we were, but that shouldn't surprise anybody that we're going to have some down stretches as well.
"It's our job to pull ourselves out of it."
Chicago also announced right-hander Dallas Beeler will start Tuesday. Beeler has started twice for the Cubs this season and has no record with a 6.43 ERA.