Going to play some catch up here as I was out with some fellow Chicago Now bloggers out in Wrigleyville. It appears the Cubs were on the hunt for pitching last night. They got one and they're closing in on two more. It's not clear whether the Cubs intend to sign two more starters, but they appeared to be talking to both Carlos Villanueva and Edwin Jackson. There are conflicting reports on whether Villanueva has agreed to sign. We know how that goes, so we'll wait until we hear it from the Cubs before we make it official.
Not sure I want to call this a rumor thread yet, but there is a lot going on here so we'll follow closely throughout the day.
- 2:21 PM: Per Patrick Mooney, the Cubs have signed Edwin Jackson for 4 years and $52M.
- 2:09 PM: Curious tweet by Edwin Jackson's former Nationals teammate Gio Gonzalez, "Congrats to my boy @EJ36 for his big deal today. You will be missed, couldn't of happened to an amazing friend and great pitcher." @EJ36 is Edwin Jackson's twitter handle. It's also nice to see that he was well-liked by his teammates. He's been on so many teams that it sometimes you wonder...but whatever the reason, Gonzalez's tweet seems to indicate it has nothing to do with having EJax in the clubhouse.
- 1:30 PM: David Kaplan also confirms the Villanueva agreement and adds that the deal will be finalized withing the next 24 hours. He cites his own sources on Jackson as well, saying, "In addition, sources have confirmed to me that the Cubs are in prime position to land right-handed starter Edwin Jackson who is close to agreeing to a 4-year deal worth $52 million. "
- 11:35 AM: Bruce Levine confirms agreement with Carlos Villanueva for 2 years pending a physical.
- 8:55 AM: Buster Olney is the second big media member to report that the Cubs have made strong progress with Edwin Jackson on a 4 year/$52M deal. Olney considers Jackson to be "just about off the board."
- 8:45 AM: According to Jon Heyman this morning, the agreement with Carlos Villanueva is for 2 years/$10M. Heyman thinks it's a nice add and we tend to agree, especially at that price. Villanueva was 7-7 with a 4.16 ERA overall and posted a 3.24 ERA as a reliever with over a strikeout per inning. He adds great depth to the Cubs rotation.
- The pitcher they signed is 29 year old Corey Wade, (h/t emartinezjr via ChicagoCubsOnline) a guy we've mentioned several times, including this piece in October. They signed Wade on a minor league deal. Here is what I said about him back then, "Wade had a disastrous season (6.46 ERA) but that could be a blessing in disguise because it could mean he comes cheaper. His strikeout to walk rate per 9 innings was excellent (8.77/1.85) and his xFIP of 3.65 was very respectable. There's plenty to suggest that Wade just had an unlucky year: low strand rate, high BABIP, and a career high percentage of flyballs that left the yard. There could be some hidden value here."
- It appears Carlos Villanueva hasn't quite signed yet. Ken Rosenthal says there is an agreement in place while Carrie Muskat says they are talking to both Villanueva and Edwin Jackson, but nothing is done on either yet.
- Speaking of Jackson, Jim Bowden tweeted that he Cubs are the front runner for him and that 4 years an $52M appears to be "in the neighborhood". Like Sanchez that would be a slight overpay, in my opinion, but such is the plight of a rebuilding team. You can't just bid on equal terms with the better teams, you have to give them a reason to come to a team that expects to lose for another year or two. Money is often that reason.
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