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Pending physicals, the Cubs’ pitching staff is about to get crazy deep …

  • BOOM: Patrick Mooney reports that the Cubs have signed Edwin Jackson to a four-year, $52 million deal, pending a physical.
  • The following bullets were from before that Mooney report, so they may sound a bit off – still useful stuff, though.
  • Dave Kaplan reports that the Cubs are in “prime position,” per sources, to land Edwin Jackson. Given that we’ve heard from multiple sources that the Cubs are the favorite, and we’ve started hearing numbers – four years, $52 million, the tea leaves are really strongly pointing to the Cubs getting their man. Kap adds that the Christmas holiday could hold up the timing of an announcement, but …
  • Jackson’s former teammate in Washington certainly thinks Jackson has come to an agreement today, tweeting, “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.” That doesn’t mean it’s the Cubs, obviously, but it sure seems likely.
  • Another former teammate – Matt Garza – continues to suggest that Jackson is coming to the Cubs. Adding a bit more to his cryptic tweets earlier (asking what uniform Jackson might wear), Garza notes that he “knows Jackson really well.” Which could mean that Garza knows Jackson wants to come to the Cubs, or it could mean simply that Garza knows uniform number is very important to Jackson. Obviously the former makes slightly more sense, but, once again, this isn’t a confirmation that the Cubs are definitely getting him.
  • Speaking of Garza, and this will obviously become the subject of a great deal more discussion if and when the Jackson signing is made official, Kap says that he hears from agents that the Cubs don’t plan on flipping any of the pitchers they’ve signed. But Kap doesn’t hear the same thing about Garza (implying that the Cubs could deal with their glut of starting pitchers by dealing Garza – to which I say, “still virtually impossible to trade him until he shows he’s healthy”).
  • On Carlos Villanueva, whom we heard about earlier today and last night, multiple reports now have the deal as done, pending a physical. So that’s the status there.
  • I’ll wait for just a bit more confirmation before delving deeply into the implications of the moves (roster, rotation, plans, etc.), and the substance of the deals. Instant reaction is: I love the depth it gives the Cubs, and I love the options it gives them. I think each deal is very fair in this market, and the arrow is pointing up.

UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal’s sources also tell him that the Cubs and Jackson are in agreement on a four-year, $52 million deal.

UPDATE the Second: Jon Heyman and Jim Bowden enter the fray, and also confirm on Jackson. By the way, Bowden was the one who started this whole discussion of the Cubs and Jackson actually potentially happening this week, so he probably deserves some credit.

UPDATE the Third: Heyman says there’s no no-trade clause in Jackson’s deal, which was never really a concern.

UPDATE the Fourth: Probably worth linking back to my take on Jackson as a target for the Cubs from earlier this week. I’ll have much more on him and the rotation in the coming days/weeks/etc. The Cubs’ situation has changed pretty dramatically in the last two days, even if these two pitchers don’t actually suddenly turn them into a playoff contender.

  • morgan

    solid pickups, now we just need to start working on that outfield mess we got

    • Tobias

      I believe that Theo/Jed will focus on the outfield now that they have these two in the fold. I have a feeling that these two signings will start a mini avalanche of moves.

  • Vulcan

    This… This pleases me…

  • rbreeze

    Me likey!

  • Leroy

    I will believe it when I see it…fool me once shame on you, fool me twice….

  • JR

    I love the EJax signing so much more than Sanchez at 5 yrs for 80 mill. Sanchez has been a little better, but WAY less durable. And to me durability is the most underrated skill out there. Love it!

  • gblan014

    I always thought that little drawn “Sign all the players!” Dodgers guy was pretty funny, but this one just made my day. Kudos.

  • D Rich

    Understanding that Garza needs to show he is healthy. But I strongly see him shipped sooner than later maybe with Sori to Texas for Olt ? any thoughts..

  • Eric

    Really starting to like the depth we are building up. Granted, all of them won’t work out but here’s to not trotting out a cast of Germano, Raley, Rusin, etc even if we trade a few later in the season.

    Ideally, I’d like the Cubs to extend Garza unless 1) His demands are completely unreasonable and/or 2) we get an offer we can’t refuse. Obviously he has to prove healthy first so I can’t imagine anything would happen in that area until spring.

  • Frank

    Judging by the lack of available front end pitching and the demand for it, I’d say it’s very possible that somebody takes a chance, assuming that we’re able to produce a clean bill of health. Now it might just be the Advil Cold and Sinus talking, but the rotation of Garza-Shark-Jackson-Baker-Villanueva/Feldman could, scratch that should actually make us a .500 team, especially if we can manage to scrape up a bat somehow for CF or RF. If not, we auction off Garza, Feldman, and Baker in July. The rotation of Shark-Jackson-Baker-Villanueva-Feldman could be surprisingly good, but not exactly confidence inspiring. With this in mind, while I think that someone would take a chance on Garza, his value isn’t much better than it will be in July, depening on what’s available, so I say we keep him and go for it. We can still shop DeJesus and Wood.

  • rbreeze

    I like the signings today. Lets hope that Wade doesn’t turn out to be the best of the three.
    Merry Christmas to all!

  • willis

    Love it.

  • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

    I am very excited about this, and there was even a Dave Kaplan report that made me happy today.

    The Front Office is loading up for a competitive team in 2013 to lay the foundation for a bigger push in 2014, according to @thekapman or whatever he calls himself on Twitter.

    This is what you needed to do. You can’t just show up in 2014 with a smoking crater of a roster, gobs of payroll flexibility and say “We’re here, let’s load up now!”

    Jackson fills a gaping organization hole for the medium-term. This is a B offseason from Theo and Jed so far, with a B+ looming as soon as they fix the infield depth situation. The only scenario in which I can see it getting worse is if they trade Soriano without getting something comparable to play the outfield.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I feel like someone around here has been saying for months that 2014 was probably the target, and would be the focus of many of the Cubs’ moves. Someone. Someone handsome.

      • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

        And I never said you were wrong. I just said if they were planning that way, they’d better do something like Jackson this offseason. And they did.

        Now I’m not saying they have to credit me for the idea. Maybe they came up with it on their own. But either way, i’m just glad they are implementing the Kyle Plan. :)

        • cjdubbya

          Strictly out of curiosity, what would (or would have) make this an A offseason in your opinion?

          • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

            A third baseman.

        • MichiganGoat

          So if the Kyle Plan is same as Theo’s Plan does that mean FireKyle.com was a bad idea ;)

          • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

            What you have to see, and I hope that you don’t take this adversarily, is that you don’t always get my sense of humor. I like to tap-dance around the line between being serious and self-parody.

            But yes, right now I’m cautiously happy that we have Epstein again. When we signed him, I was expecting the guy who would say “Well, why *can’t* we sign all the cost-efficient starting pitchers and corner the market?” rather than “Ho-hum, 100-losses, all part of hte plan.”

            • Featherstone

              I still think the 100 loss result in 2012 really was part of the plan. They saw the flaming mess that was the roster in 2012 and realized that even with their best attempts at fire fighting they were still left with wet garbage.

              They addressed the first baseman for the short and long term in Rizzo (with some risk of course) rather than another stop-gap solution like Pena. They turned a year of an excellent setup relief pitcher into multiple years of a cost-controlled back of the rotation lefty. Lastly, they jettisoned players that had either no value or very little value on lottery tickets that unfortunately didn’t really pan out that well.

              I suppose the way i saw it was they needed to fill the gaping hole that was the 2012 roster with anything to even think about starting to build a foundation on top of it in future years to come.

      • Carew

        Oh well, shoot Brett. You’re making me blush

        • afinch

          He meant me. Look at how handsome my picture is.

      • MichiganGoat

        And many other mammals telling everyone to be patient.

      • MXB

        You had me at handsome…

        • MXB

          Errrrr….meant to say “lost me at….”

          I’ll go back to work now

      • arta

        thanks Brett.

    • JR

      Yep, it’s a good day. For the first time in awhile I am actually ok with the Cubs keeping Soriano, and seeing where this team goes. Clearly, other teams aren’t wanting to give up jack for Sorian,o so screw ‘em. No sense in moving him for half ass prospects.

  • HateDemp

    And no ryan dempster, yeah. Would be nice to have delgado but why complain on an overall good day for the Cubs.

  • afinch

    If anything, the pitching staff just got more consistent. The bullpen shouldn’t be too overworked this year too. A lot of money in my mind for Jackson, but I like the additions. I give the rotation now a solid B to maybe B+ at best, that is if Garza is completely healthy. Either way, it’s a major improvement over the staff last year which is what we all generally like to see.

  • Nate

    Something for a Cubs fan to be happy about!

  • cubchymyst

    Excellent depth. Cubs now have 3 swing men in Villanueva, Feldman, Wood and 4 solid starters in Garza, Samardzija, Jackson, and Baker.

    Question for someone more stat savvy then me, if I’m looking at ERA- is it safe to assume the average MLB starter has a value of 100, or do poor relievers skew the number some.

  • Peter

    This is very good news, without a doubt the addition of Jackson and Villanueva makes the rotation very solid and respectable. It will be very interesting to see what happens with Garza, I think that most likely if he is traded, it will be in spring training. That will allow other teams to see his ability and gives whatever team that gives up very good prospects to have a complete season of Garza rather than just a half season.

  • Believe in 2015

    Yippee!!!! Cubs are getting better

  • Cheryl

    Who’d o’ thought a month ago that this would happen?

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    Impressive. They have really attacked a weakness and have done something not all that easy in adding a quality middled of the rotation starter while adding a guy who could swing, and two quality staters that are upside kind of futures type bets…. All in all, pretty impressive approach to fixing starting pitching…..

  • Frank

    And the sign all the pitchers meme pretty much sums it up. We’d have Garza, Shark, Jackson, Baker, Villanueva, Feldman, Wood. As depth, we’d have Raley. Rusin, and Struck. In AAA we’d also have Vizcaino, and they’re reported;y going to give Bowden and Cabrera a look as starters in the spring, and they could spend the bulk of 2013 in the Iowa rotation.

    As in demand as mid rotation and back end inning-eating starters are come the summer, we could not only put together an above average rotation, but sell off the spares for prospects as well.

    • bbmoney

      ALL the pitchers. ALL of them. Love….it.

  • Carne Harris

    I love that little screaming bastard in the picture once he’s on our side. His torch instantly turns into a sweep broom for me.

  • Kev

    I definitely feel like the Cubs have added some substantial pitching depth to their club this offseason thus far. This is great for two reasons (1) pitching is insanely important, and we’ve been lacking depth in the past (like last season) and (2) Jed said that’s what they’d be going after.

    So, it’s good to see that the Cubs have a plan, are sticking to it, and are more or less executing it well. The other comments are right though–need moar outfieldz.

  • mark

    It all seems very positive, a commitment to improve the team and not just dwell in the cellar for a few more years, while retaining flexibility. They obviously can’t address all needs in just one year, but you have to believe they’ll be trying to address some other areas between now and ST now that they have a fairly solid pitching staff in place.

  • Nate

    So the rotation stand at this:

    Garza
    Samardzija
    Jackson

    Then the last two spots a blend of Wood, Feldman, Baker, Villanueva, and possibly Vizcaino. With a trade next offseason for an ace (Price?) and the signing of a legit 3B (Wright?), I can see a very good team in 2014.

    • Peter

      Can’t sign Wright, locked up with Mets for rest of his career, Signed a big contract

    • Tim

      Wright signed an extension wih the mets he’s not going anywhere

  • JB88

    This is a very right handed staff. I’m wondering if something the Cubs found in their numbers in 2012 suggests that RHP is the way to go at Wrigley or is just a byproduct of what is available on the market.

  • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

    Right now, I like to picture us as one of those scrappy midwestern basketball teams. Only instead of sending waves of technically sound, crew-cutted 6-2 small forwards at opponents, we’ve got like 15 average pitchers.

    • cjdubbya

      Scrappy like Butler? If we get the 2010-2011 Bulldogs (losing in the finals) I think I’d be really happy with that.

  • T Wags

    Love this!

    1. Shark
    2. Garza
    3. Jackson
    4. Villanueva
    5. Feldman

    Start Baker and Wood (2nd lefty problem solved) in the bullpen until Garza (hopefully) proves healthy, then we can deal him to fill some other holes (fingers crossed for Olt). I love Garza and think that he’s the cat’s pajamas, but he’s a bad fit for the NL plain and simple.

    • willis

      I’m down with that if it’s how it shakes out. I like the idea of Wood in the pen as a lefty/long man. This staff just got very deep. I like the way it has shaped up. Now to the OF…

  • Alou Stew

    Is Wellington Castillo locked in to the starting C gig next year? I can’t decide if I like him or not. Are there any up and coming catchers in the minors of note?

    • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

      I would not be stunned to see catcher addressed via trade between now and the spring. Call it my pet dark horse trade scenario.

  • cubzfan

    Okay, so now that these pitchers are apparently signed, whats the opinion on Bourne now. I think having a lead-off guy who gets on base and can steal would be beneficial. Thought please.

    • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

      He’s not my first choice. But we’re getting dangerously close to that part of the projection where marginal wins start to really matter.

      If they sign Bourn, this is a team I’d project to have a winning record.

      • bbmoney

        That’s the thing right? I wasn’t really looking at Bourn as a reasonable option. But with the way the staff is looking now. Those 2 or 3 or 4 theoretical wins starting Bourn over Schierholtz gets you…..actually might matter. I mean things would still have to fall just right, but they might matter.

        Deep breaths, getting way ahead of myself.

    • Carew

      If they do go after him, I’d be cool with a 2-3 year deal

    • brickhouse

      I would like to get Bourn to improve the CF defense and put Dejesus back in RF and Schierholtz on the bench.

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