After failing to trade for Dan Haren of the Angels and failing to sign Anibal Sanchez of the Tigers, the Chicago Cubs finally have the veteran starting pitcher they've been craving: journeyman Edwin Jackson, who the team agreed to a four-year, $52 million deal with on Thursday, substantially less than the $80 million that Sanchez got over five years from the Tigers.
Jackson made $11 million in 2012 on a one-year deal with the Nationals, who ironically signed Haren to a one-year, $13 million deal after the Angels declined their club option on him. The Cubs had a deal worked out with the Angels to acquire Haren in exchange for reliever Carlos Marmol, but the trade fell apart, and Haren ventured into the free agent market. After striking out with Sanchez despite tentatively agreeing to a five-year, $75 million contract with him, the Cubs shifted their focus to Jackson. Earlier this week, the Padres dropped out of the bidding for the veteran righthander, leaving the Cubs and Rangers as a finalist. And as they have with the rest of their big name free agent targets this winter, the Rangers failed to get their man, leaving Jackson to sign with the Cubs.
In 2012 with Washington, Jackson had a 4.03 ERA in 189 2/3 innings, serving as the team's fourth starter behind Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, and Jordan Zimmermann. Jackson posted a career-bests in both strikeout rate (7.97) and walk rate (2.75). However, Jackson's homer rate was once again an issue as it has been throughout most of his career, and his 2.9 fWAR was his lowest in a season since 2008 with the Rays.
If Jackson is able to keep his homers under control at Wrigley Field (which is no small feat), he could be a bargain for the Cubs at $13 million per season. Chicago's rotation is suddenly looking pretty good with Jackson, Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija, Scott Feldman, and Scott Baker (once he recovers from Tommy John surgery), along with long relievers Travis Wood and newly-signed Carlos Villanueva.