Once it became clear that nothing was going to break last night, I packed it in (intermittently awaking in the middle of the night to check my phone, because I can’t help myself). Although nothing formal did break overnight, there were some additional whispers – so here’s your early morning update:

  • Dave Kaplan says the Cubs are looking finalize their deal with Carlos Villanueva, which I presume means as soon as today. Villanueva – not Edwin Jackson – was the back-up plan to which Kap referred last week during the Anibal Sanchez madness. That is to say, the Cubs put their pursuit of Villanueva on hold when it looked like they might get Sanchez.
  • … which means that the Cubs have always been in pursuit of, and wanted, Edwin Jackson. Let yourself consider the possibility of adding both Jackson and Sanchez, but only for a moment, for it will make you the sadz.
  • Kap adds that the Cubs are trying to get a deal done with Jackson to show improvement in 2013, which will help entice free agents next year when they actually look to spend big. I like that plan so long as it doesn’t prohibit them from flipping assets for prospects mid-season if it looks like the 2013 team is not competitive. I’m not interested in seeing the Cubs lose 100 again, but I’m also not interested in seeing them hold onto everyone just so they can finish 70-92.
  • Matt Garza made it to Twitter last night, but didn’t welcome either Villanueva or Jackson to the Cubs. Instead, he pulled the cryptic card on us, tweeting first that he wondered what uniform number Jackson is going to wear (he most recently wore 33, but he’s bounced around numbers, including a pit stop on 22 – Garza’s current number). When a fan cautioned Matt not to jinx things, Garza tweeted that he “know[s] something you don’t know.” The two played a season together back in 2008 in Tampa Bay, so perhaps they’re friends. It’s interesting, but this is definitely something short of confirmation. Keep in mind: Garza is aware of the fascination the fans have with this stuff, and he’s a fun-loving guy.
  • Jim Bowden reported that the Cubs are the front-runner for Jackson, and the offer is believed to be in the four-year, $52 million range. That’s the ballpark I’d projected, too, so I buy that part. Bowden reported a couple days ago that it was down to the Cubs and Rangers, and recent reports have suggested that the Rangers have bowed out, so Bowden could be on the money here. To be fair, however, he hasn’t had a great track record in recent years, so I’ll consider this to be just a little more smoke, and nothing more.
  • UPDATE: Buster Olney just now said that the Cubs have made “strong progress” on a four-year, $52 million deal for Jackson.
  • There’s a report floating around from “Carl Butts” on Twitter that Villanueva’s deal with the Cubs will be two years for $8.5 million plus a $6.5 million mutual option with a $1 million buyout. That may well end up being the case, but I have some suspicions about Carl. His Twitter bio says that he used to write for FanGraphs (I can find no articles), and that he currently writes for the L.A. Times (I can find no bylines and no bio). His Twitter profile image is a stock photo of a guy holding a phone, which is used in a bunch of insurance company literature. So, that could all mean that he’s super anonymous (but pretends as though he’s not being anonymous), or that it’s completely bogus. I’ll leave that to you, discerning reader.
  • If the Cubs do manage to add both Villanueva and Jackson, we’ll have to get back to the roster crunch: even before adding Nate Schierholtz, the Cubs are at 40. That would make three spots the Cubs have to clear. They could dump a fringe arm or two, but will have some tough choices to make on guys like Steve Clevenger and Tony Campana. You’d like to see a trade, but obviously other teams have crowded 40-man rosters, too.
  • Joker

    Still hard to get excited about these acquisitions (if they end up happening) so I remind myself that you’ve got to start somewhere.

  • MichiganGoat

    Cue the Scrappy Love for Campana… “He’s a game changer, he deserves a chance to start, the record was good when he started, he’s really, really, really, super fast.” He will get traded or DFA before spring training.

  • ottoCub

    I like Matt Garza. He is as much a fan as he is a player.

  • abe

    This carl guy probably just posted on FanGraphs and the L A Times. Kinda like me saying I am a regular columnist on bleacher nation.

    • MichiganGoat

      So I should change my bio to “Moderator and Contributor to BleacherNation.com, and Contributor at Founders Brewing.” All of these are true.

      • bbmoney

        Are you a contributor in the sense that you drink at founder’s or that you brew at founders? Either way, I love founders.

        • MichiganGoat

          Because I drink there regularly, in fact i’m heading there today for another growler fill, if I actually brewed there I’d actually add that to my bio. I am lucky that Founders is only three miles away and only a $6 dollar cab ride of a $1.50 bus ride for the days I’m really enjoying myself.

          • bbmoney

            What’s your beer of choice?

            Or do you just celebrate their entire repetoire?

            • MichiganGoat

              Dirty Bastard is stable there since its always available, but I’m getting prepared for the KBS release in a few months. There really isn’t a single brew they make that I didn’t enjoy. I really enjoy the All Day IPA – the best session beer I’ve had, and in the Tap room they always have Oatmeal Stout on a Nitro Line. Today I’m going to have a Bolt Cutter, a Frangelic Stout on a Nitro line, and then bring home a growler of either The Shwarz or Ruby Crystal Ale (thats one I’ve never tried)

              • MichiganGoat

                Yeah Michigan Craft Beer and Grand Rapids – Beer City USA.

              • MichiganGoat

                I forgot this beautiful beer a great DIPA

                • MichiganGoat

                  sorry didn’t realize the picture would be that large. But I love that brew that much.

                  • DocPeterWimsey

                    Wow, I have a desire for a breakfast ale like I haven’t had in decades!

                    • MichiganGoat

                      Founders brews multiple Breakfast Stouts and they are all amazing.

                    • bbmoney

                      The breakfast stouts in all their variaties are my personal favorites.

                      But pretty much everything they brew is awesome.

                    • MichiganGoat

                      bbmoney are you in Michigan?

                    • bbmoney

                      I’m like a $15 cab ride from founder’s if you want to put it that way.

              • Cubbie Blues

                Dirty Bastard is almost as good as Bad Elmer’s Porter.

                • MichiganGoat

                  This why its so important to live in a place that has a great craft brewery, you have Upland (as you know that brewery that got me started with my craft beer obsession when I was a student at IU) and I have Founders. Drink Locally everybody!

                  • college_of_coaches

                    Bloomington Brewing Co., nearby Upland, is pretty good as well. I still have my growler here, a pleasant reminder of my one year in B-town.

                    • MichiganGoat

                      Yes it is and I still have my growler from there as well, found memories of drinking yards of Guinness at the Irish Lion- now I really need to get back there and visit.

                    • Cubbie Blues

                      I have a growler from BBC, but two from Upland. Sadly they are all empty at the moment. I really need to figure out how that keeps happening.

  • MichiganGoat

    Trusting a person who uses Carl Butts as his handle is as hard to trust as i don’t know… a guy who hides as a Goat online. Neither of us should be trusted to break actual news.

    • Dave

      I only get my news from Carl Butts. I used to get it exclusively from I.P. Freely, but I began to question his agenda and my good friend Seymour suggested I start listening to his brother.

      • Cubbie Blues

        Hey, I know that guy. I used to bowl with him. He has 16 lb balls.

      • skidrow


  • Adam

    I hope that as a concession for going over 50 mil, the fourth year isn’t guaranteed…although I’m sure it is.

    One thing we know for sure, he is an innings eater, and movable.

    This reminds me a bit of the Lilly signing. That worked out fairly well.

    • MichiganGoat

      I’m fine with 4 years and wouldn’t mind a fifth year club option, maybe someone can answer this question would his 10/5 right begin at the 5th year or is it not in place until after the fifth year is complete?

      • Dave

        10/5 goes into effect when the player reaches 5 consecutive years with a club. So if a guy is traded at the deadline in 2013 and signs a 6-year extension, he’ll get 10/5 rights around July 31, 2018.

        • MichiganGoat

          Thanks thats what I figured, so giving Jackson a 5th year club option wouldn’t prevent us from trading him that fifth year. If that what it would take to get him to agree I see very little risk in offering that addtional club year.

  • ibcnu2222 (John)

    I could see Wood and Villanueava in the bullpen

    • JoeyCollins

      I’ve been thinking the same. Maybe not to start the year but as soon as/if the rest get healthy i see them both in the pen.

  • Mike Feeney

    I wouldn’t mind getting Edwin Jackson at this point. If we are a contender in 3-4 years he’s not a bad 4th or 5th starters. I mean he’d be a great 5th starter. Even this coming season he could be a #3 starter behind Garza and Samardzija. A guy who is going to throw 200 innings and be around a 3 WAR player? I’ll take that.

  • Leo

    Cubs sign pitcher Cory Wade 29 to a minor league deal.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yeah – been waiting to write about that when this stuff clears. Don’t want to sound tone deaf.

  • Seymour Butts

    Acording to my brother Carl the cubs have reportedly made a 3 year all you can eat; with a 4th year option that includes a lifetime membership to the pastry of the Month club buyout, to Hector VIllanueva to become the new team nutritionist…

    • MikeW

      I see what you did here. Kudos.

  • matt


    I appreciate the “cautions” at every turn in your articles.

  • B_Scwared

    I think we are going to find out that Carl Butts is the Assman.

    • Gabriel

      Haha where is Assman when you need him? He was all over these rumors during the season

  • Brian cubs fan

    i wonder if a roster move could involve a marmol trade also that hasnt been leaked yet for prospects

  • cjdubbya

    Heyman says it’s done. Villanueva, 2/$10M

  • Pingback: Report: Cubs Sign Carlos Villanueva for Two Years and $10 Million | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary()

  • Frank

    Perhaps Garza’s being so cryptic because he doesn’t expect to be on a team with Jackson. Even if this one is for real, and no rug is pulled out from under us, it’s interesting to see us agressively pursuing 2 of the top remaining pitchers when we already have 5 as well as sufficient depth. Even if depth were what we were looking for, Jackson and Villanueva would not be it. When a team with 5 starting pitchers and sifficient depth signs a 6th, it could be that they’re looking to trade one, or they could be looking for depth. With Garza, Baker, and Feldman being no sure things to be healthy all season, who could blame them?

    When a team with 5 starting pitchers agressively pursues 2 starting pitchers,it suggests that there’s most definitely a trade on the horizon. Garza being the most likely, but don’t rule out Samardzjia, if someone’s willing to bowl us over with an offer, but it would likely have to be a doozy.

    Now if we were to start the season with all 7, I’d assume it would go Garza-Shark-Jackson-Baker with Villanueva or Feldman in the pen and Wood either in the pen or AAA. It would be a very nice rotation, possibly enough to contend. However, if we didn’t contend, and things werent looking good in July, it could make for a very interesting July. Starting pitching is always in demand, and teams tend to be willing to overpay for mid rotation guys and back end inning-eaters. Depending on health, we’d have Garza, Baker, and Feldman as very moveable pieces, as well as Villanueva, depedning on the contract length.

    However, my bet is still on a trade not too long after we sign Jackson and Villanueva, assuming that we do, an assumption I won’t make until the official Cubs site photoshops Cubs hats on their mug shots and adds them to the depth chart, and Garza’s the top candidate. KC, for one is an interesting option. As much as they’ve given up for starting pitching, their rotation is still mediocre at best. However, adding a front ender to that mix could make Detroit sweat for years to come.

  • BigPappa

    Until Mike Hunt, Sharon Peter, Phil McCracken, Ivana Weiner, Stuart (aka Stu) Piddasso, Harry Beaver, Heywood Jablowme , Wilma Fingerdo, or Richard (aka Big Dick) Smoker confirms it cjdubbya, I won’t believe it. :-)

    • Carew

      I really did laugh out loud. Thank you

    • Jason

      You forgot Mr. Dick Hertz.

  • Chris

    It seems like they are only pursuing those players that won’t cost a draft pick. Otherwise I don’t understand why they wouldn’t have been in on BJ Upton, given the need for a CF. Too bad they didn’t get dirty Sanchez. Greinke was too expensive, and not that much better than Sanchez, so I understand why they didn’t go after him. Jackson is the 3rd best pitcher available, in my mind, so I love that they tried for both guys.

  • kranzman54

    I don’t know why all these pitcher signing surprise me so much, I forgot we did something similar last year. We traded for Travis Wood and I was wondering why in the world do we have 7 starters (Wells) maybe 8 with (Coleman). I love this strategy!

  • Spencer

    Matt Garza also welcomed Sanchez to the Cubs, so….

  • Josh

    I’ll be happy with both signings as they are both much better than what we were throwing out last year. On a WS caliber team I see Jackson as a #4 or #5 guy so I will be very happy to add him to the rotation as I can see him on a WS contending team unlike most of our other signings this offseason. This almost makes me more bummed out about missing out on Sanchez because Sanchez/Garza/Shark/Jackson/(Wood/Villanueva/Baker/Feldman) would have been very solid rotation, then went and picked up an ace next offseason to really get this team moving forward. Feldman and Villanueva would have been moved to the pen and then the pen would be improved as well

    • Tobias

      If Cubs signed Sanchez then they wouldn’t be signing both Villenueva and Jackson. The Cubs basically (if Jackson does sign with Cubs for the reported 52 mil) have signed two starters for 10 mil less than what the reported Cubs’ offer to Sanchez. Cubs could used part of that 10 million to go after a J.P. Howell or some bench help.

  • Timmy

    12 mil a year for a pitcher with a lifetime 1.40 WHIP and an ERA usually around 4 is dramatically overpaying for very little improvement. I think he’ll help the team a little but I don’t understand why we won’t pay market value for players who will improve the team and then overpay for players who wont.

    • MattM

      @Timmy You MUST be joking right? So it seems as though you have not been paying attention! How many 3 war pitchers did we have last year? Also his numbers have been much better the last four years which shows a trend. I guess we are lucky you are not the talent evaluator for the Cubs!

  • Jason (Thundermug)

    Well I like what the Cubs have done this offseason and if they do sign Edwin Jackson that would be a little risky move yes maybe overpriced but with starting pitching sometimes you have to take a gamble.

  • Tim

    Matt garzas response to “I know something you don’t know” was he knows Jackson really well