Jon Heyman of CBS says that the Cubs have added Carlos Villanueva on a two-year deal worth $10MM. I’m actually okay with this one because the guy is still young, has potential and is moving from a tough league to a not-so-tough league. Villanueva is basically this year’s Paul Maholm signing, more so than Scott Baker or Scott Feldman since the Scotts don’t actually have a second year or an option year to add incentive for a team to give back more in trade due to the extra year of control (recall that an extra year means that they can retain him for the entirety of a season post-trade and at least have the option of receiving a draft pick in compensation if they leave in free agency).
What I actually have a problem with is when Buster Olney broke the news that the Cubs were on the verge of signing Edwin Jackson to a four-year deal worth $52MM. I guess it’s not really a “problem” per se because it’s not my money and I don’t care for Edwin one way or the other. He’s a solid enough pitcher. He’s won a World Series (though he didn’t really help much against the Rangers in 2011, he was important in getting the Cardinals to the playoffs over the collapsing Braves). He has moments of brilliance sprinkled in with bouts of GAH. And now we as Cubs fans will have to resign ourselves to the fact that we must root for Edwin Jackson.
We have some time to breathe as the signing isn’t official yet, but my initial reaction to Edwin Jackson’s reported contract demands could be summed up in two pictures:
This contract is too damn high!
Then I stepped back as I often do, took a deep breath, and looked up stuff.
Recall that the Cubs were unable to snag Anibal Sanchez, who ultimately re-signed with the Tigers for five years at $80MM and an option year. Sanchez has a career ERA+ of 110 between the Marlins and his brief time with Detroit, while Edwin Jackson has bounced around quite a bit with a career ERA+ of 98. To get an idea of how much Edwin has traveled throughout MLB and the scope of his baseball cap collection, here’s the MLBTR transaction log before whatever team (probably the Cubs, but who the hell knows) signs him next:
June 5, 2001: Drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 6th round of the 2001 amateur draft. Player signed June 18, 2001.
January 14, 2006: Traded by the Los Angeles Dodgers with Chuck Tiffany (minors) to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for Danys Baez and Lance Carter.
December 10, 2008: Traded by the Tampa Bay Rays to the Detroit Tigers for Matthew Joyce.
December 8, 2009: Traded as part of a 3-team trade by the Detroit Tigers to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Detroit Tigers sent Curtis Granderson to the New York Yankees. The New York Yankees sent Phil Coke and Austin Jackson to the Detroit Tigers. The New York Yankees sent Ian Kennedy to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Arizona Diamondbacks sent Max Scherzer and Daniel Schlereth to the Detroit Tigers.
July 30, 2010: Traded by the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Chicago White Sox for David Holmberg (minors) and Daniel Hudson.
July 27, 2011: Traded by the Chicago White Sox with Mark Teahen to the Toronto Blue Jays for Jason Frasor and Zach Stewart.
July 27, 2011: Traded by the Toronto Blue Jays with Octavio Dotel, Corey Patterson, Marc Rzepczynski and cash to the St. Louis Cardinals for Trever Miller, Colby Rasmus, Brian Tallet and P.J. Walters.
October 30, 2011: Granted Free Agency.
February 2, 2012: Signed as a Free Agent with the Washington Nationals.
October 29, 2012: Granted Free Agency.
Edwin Jackson is like the kind of pitcher that teams know is useful and solid, but they don’t want to keep him around. The ERA+ numbers above suggest he’s about 10% worse than Anibal Sanchez which in the current market lines up as the $13MM a season he’s rumored to get is more than 10% less than the $16MM per that Sanchez will get. Edwin eats innings, figured out how to walk less guys over the past few seasons, still strikes out a lot of guys and should be able to keep doing that for the length of the rumored contract. Some team always seems to want him so he’ll be a good potential trade piece if he continues to be solidly average, which is what he’s being paid to do. I guess that’s worth rooting for.
And if nothing else, this allowed Mauricio to share his Edwin Jackson Cake Recipe:
1/2 cup talent
2 teaspoons stuff
1 cup wildness
1 cup ineffectiveness
1 teaspoon brilliance
1/8 teaspoon control
1 teaspoon command
Pour the talent and the stuff into a bowl. Mix with a stick haphazardly. Throw in 4 pitches, add a cup of wildness, stir with egg beater. Add a cup of ineffectiveness with a pinch of despair, get ready to give up on the mixture.
Give the mixture to another person
You, add a pinch of brilliance, a dash of control, and a touch of command. Mix. Become excited. Put in oven that you forgot to preheat. Deal with it.
Somehow comes out as sponge cake. Serves 1 team per year.
Welcome to the Cubs (maybe), Edwin Jackson. Please don’t suck.