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.

  • josh2

    I’d say Wood stays in the rotation. Isn’t he the lone lefty starter?

    • BluBlud

      I think using lefty and righty starters are overrated. The key is to put your 5 best starters on the mound every 5 games. If all 5 are righties, so be it. If all five are lefties, so be it. For instance, I dont think any team would turn down a rotation of Price, Lee, Kershaw, Hamels and Sabathia because they were all Lefties or Hernandez, Halladay, Verlander, Greinke and Weaver because they were all right handed. They would be happy to run those guys out every five days.

      • Kevin B


        Thanks for stating that, I too am so sick and tired of hearing about a “lefty” in the rotation. The point is to get guys out and most batters are hit righty anyway so big deal. Are teams going to load up on lefty hitters – who cares, let them bench their starters and put the scrub lefty in. And besides what would having a lefty in the rotation do to stop that except for once every 5 days.

        Same for the lefty reliever, its good to have if they can get someone out but just because someone throws from the left side who cares. If the lefty stinks who cares.

        Also the lefty batters, case in point, we dumped Mark DeRosa a few years ago to sign Aaron Miles because he hits lefty!! I was so mad then. He stunk before we signed him but he bats lefty? So do I? Sign me up for a few million!

        Seriously were opposing managers going to shay, Oh Crap Aaron Miles is up we better take our closer out and put in a lefty to get this tough out …../ hahaha.

        I would rather see DeRosa at bat back then with the game on the line against a RH pitcher then Miles against a RH or LH. Too overrated. Its great to have balance but having balance to just have balance is just stupid. Get players who can play, the best ones play. Period.

    • kranzman54

      Don’t think so, I have to believe they will stay true to their agreement with Feldman, Baker will be back a little later than originally anticipated and Villanueva returns to pen (where he has proven he can pitch). Wood is also a pen arm.

  • BluBlud

    Curious. What kind of package would it take to get Headley from San Diego.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      A lot of teams have been asking that question for 12 months now.

      • BluBlud

        DOC, What do you think it would take for us to get him. Think it’s possible with including the big 3 of Baez, Soler and Almora(When he can be traded)

        • BluBlud

          I mean without including them.

          • Kevin B

            Blu thanks for the clarification ….. haha …. I was thinking you were nuts in wanting to include even one of those 3.

          • another JP

            Shark, Marmol + $5M, and Christian Villanueva for Headley. Works for me.

            • nkniacc13

              Id consider it but turn it down if i was the SD Gm

    • MightyBear

      There is no package. Koufax, Ruth and Gehrig wouldn’t do it.

      • BluBlud

        Considering all those guys are deceased, as we all might be after midnight(hehe), I pretty sure the Padres would turn that down

        • BluBlud

          Sorry, koufax is currently still breathing, atleast for today.

      • Kevin B

        Mighty I like Headley as well but you think he is a future Hall of Famer or something? He absolutely could be pried lose, the question for the Cubs is do they want to overpay because the main reason Padres would hold out is Headley is cost controlled right now and under control from 3-4 more seasons I believe. That is more valuable to the Padres then Headley alone. Though as he hits some arbitration years and the price goes up they may want to move him for real value not overinflated value.

        He could be had without including our top 5 prospects but then it would take 2 or 3 of our 5-20 prospects in my opinion.

        Headley was a top prospect who took awhile to pan out – even came up and played OF at first. He would be worth 3 good prospects but not worth Baez, Soler or Almora in the deal, at least not for the Cubs at this point. If the Cubs we stocked up and competing for championships with the farm flourishing and you were making a run at the WS, then you may consider one of those guys. But now now, just my opinion.

        • DocPeter Wimsey

          If Headley could be pried away from the Pads, then one of the many teams that have asked after him would have pried him away from the Pads. This is the problem with “two team” (mine and an almagam of the other 29) thinking: it ignores the implications of 28 separate entities.

          • Brett

            Which is not to say the Cubs couldn’t possibly get him … it’s just to say that they’d have to outbid a huge number of other teams who are equally excited about a talent like Headley. And, even then, it’s only if the Padres have any interest in dealing him at all.

            Because he is probably at the absolute peak of his value – and the Padres know it – I really don’t think a Headley deal is something the Cubs will want to pursue.

  • Jbb

    I like the Carlos V signing. I do think we have one too many Carlos’s. Zambrano, Silva, Pena was no better. FO will trade him for a prospect and knows the team can not start the season with him.

    • kranzman54

      No way, you don’t sign and trade guys before they play a game. I would be shocke. Builds a bad rep

    • Kevin B


      What in the world makes you think he will be traded and before the season starts? Huh?

      Let me ask you a question, why would a team trade a prospect for him now when they could have just signed him themselves?

      Theo has like this guy for awhile, he is part of the solution. He can start and he can relieve and he is young. They signed him to play for the Cubs. Now if they stink in July would they consider moving him and others – of course. Would someone want to trade for him in July if he played good and was available, sure a team may have a need then they do not have now.

      And you think he knows he will not start the season with the Cubs? Huh? What he just said hey no one wants me but the Cubs offered me $10 million, I have no other options, I will just grab the money and I know they will just trade me in March and I will figure out where I am playing then? ?????

      • Brett

        You can’t trade just-signed players until June, anyway, so it’s a moot point.

        • frank hutch

          A little off the subject but what is the upside and thoughts on taylor scott?

          • MichiganGoat

            Well he has Scott in his name so I he’s perfect

  • Edward

    Actually somewhat excited about this season! I don’t think we’ll be very good but there is a glimmer of hope. Starting rotation is passable, with potential for everybody to outperform what they did last year. (I know there is always potential for that but this group seems primed to rebound)

    Finally reached rock-bottom last year and we have nowhere to go but up with the payroll flexibility and improved farm-system.

    Now what? Just need a 3rd baseman…heard that before.

    • Alou Stew

      I have no problem seeing what a healthy Stewart can do.

      • Edward

        Yeah, I’d like to see that. Rather do that than trade away anybody at this point. Did we sign him again? I can’t remember.

        • MichiganGoat

          Yes he has been resigned.

  • Zach

    Did everyone forget we still have Travis Wood? He was good for part of the season last year.

    • Brett

      No. He’s one of the seven starters.

      • hansman1982

        7 man rotations, 10 man bullpens – the new NEW market inefficiency

        • Kevin B

          Really? Inefficiency? Are you suggestion they should only have 5 starters and 7 relievers? Would that be efficient?

          What happened a few years ago when the Cubs were efficient like that, then they had to trade a propsect for Ramon Ortiz who was in the minors with the Braves. And they signed a few has been starters as they were desperate – It was pathetic and the finally straw that cost Hendry his job.

          No, efficiency is having DEPTH. This is the plan and how to run an organization. Theo stated this last year. He is backing up his play and working his plan. You need depth, you need to acquire better players then you have all the time, if some go to the minors so be it, if some get traded ultimately then terrific you got something for your depth. If injuries happen someone steps in, you got something for your depth.

          The Angels just traded for Vargas. Now Richards who was to be the #5 starter is bumped and may start in AAA. Its called depth.

          our FO is being VERY efficient and I love it and applaud them. I thank Ricketts for making this happen by getting Theo who got Jed.

          • Brett

            First things first: Hans was joking. It’s an expression.

            Second things second: The “inefficient” part of a market inefficiency is everyone else, not the team doing the signing. Technically, it’s a compliment of the front office building depth, not a criticism.

  • nkniacc13

    So what do the cubs have basically 2 number 2’s 1 number 3 and 4 number 4/5 starters? That aint to bad. Going to be very interesting to see who gets moved to clear space on 40 man right now then come spring it will be interesting to see if any of the non roster invites can make the roster

  • Edward

    This team would have been historically bad if they had not gotten a few ML caliber starters. Whew. Glad to know they still care about the big league club! Hats off to the front office for improving the Cubs without sacrificing any long-term goals or prospects. I don’t think I would have the patience to do it the way they are. Hendry would have signed Greinke and Hamilton to 7 year deals with full no trade clauses. And we would still be stuck in purgatory.

    • Alou Stew

      Hendry would have signed them to 7 year deals with full no trade clauses and you would have been jumping for joy.
      Boy, that hindsight is amazing, huh?

  • Mike

    Got Carlos and Edwin!! Now need Bourn and a 3rd baseman and we are starting to head in the right direction!! Starting to feel better about the fo now. Was worried there for a while.

  • frank hutch

    whats our payroll at now for next season?

  • nkniacc13

    I think we can pretty much guess that baker will start season on DL so that’s 1 of 7 that we could guess where they will be to start the year. Jackson will be in the cubs rotationand you have to say Shark will as well. I can’t wait to hear what Carlos says in his press conference as far as if he signed to be a starter or not.


    Pacheco from Colorado looks good on paper until you watch him in the field. Glove work is like he is using a folded over pizza pan. Cubs still also need a reliever with closing experience or capabilities if they are to move Marmol. Could this mean a return of Farnsworth, or as my wife calls him since his infamous body slam, Boomer? Was an advocate for a Marmol/Wood swap to the Tigers for Smyly/Garcia, but would not be adverse to a Marmol to Dodgers for Dee Gordon. Teach him how to steal first base, put him in CF, and see if you can get your 3B or C at the trade deadline.

    • Kevin B

      The Cubs have signed a reliever with closing experience already he is imported from Japan so we have that.

      Of course anyone would be an advocate of Marmol/Wood for Smyly/Garcia, but not sure why Detroit would do that?

      Marmol for Dee Gordon? Why? Dee stinks. He cannot hit. We already have Campana if all you want is an OF who can steal bases and be fast. Dee Gordon brings zero value to the team. Marmol closed out the year with around 19 straight saves? He is still young enough to start the year out good and have real value at the deadline. Otherwise keep him. His contract is over and if he cannot be traded then resign him next year it wil cost less then half of what he is paid now (if he does not pan out as a closer). He used to be a good set up man.

      3B’s are tough to come by, I do not see any coming available at the deadline unless you are looking at someones minor league prospect. Headley may be available at the deadline but you have to determine the realistic chances of what that would cost and what you get this year for paying that price. I love the moves we are making but not sure if the time is right to clean out the farm for Headley.

      As for catcher why do we need one at the deadline. Wellington Castillo is just fine. Will there be better ones out there at the deadline? You do not see good catchers getting moved at the deadline, its rare. And nothing wrong with Castillo that I can see, he should be good and getting better every year. The only catcher I had my eye on was D’Arnard who went to the Mets other then that I do not see any teams with multiple catching depth prospects.

  • frank hutch

    The trade proposals thown around on this site are rediculous. You have to trade something to get something. Gms dont take a teams garbage for top young players

    • another JP

      That’s right. Another reason I think Samardzija would be ideal trade bait given our pitching depth if we could get an impact bat like Chase Headley. Dude is in his prime and would give us a 2-6 of Castro, Headley, Sori, Rizzo, and Castillo. Not a bad middle of the line-up.

    • GoCubs

      The Marlins do.

    • MichiganGoat

      I think there are a couple of things:
      1-Fandom is at a intoxicating level right now
      2-It’s winter break so everyone is off school and anticipating Christmas
      3-Some fans just believe the are great GMs

  • Gcheezpuff

    The rangers wouldn’t sniff that. The only way the Cubs get Olt is if they trade Garza.

    • MichiganGoat

      And that is if Garza is healthy and it will still take another prospect I think.

  • frank hutch

    No ones trading for a hurt pitcher. And your not gonna gonna get top prospects for a half of a season. Keep dreaming

  • Rich H

    OK before we get to much ahead of ourselves being pitching rich, remember that teams that do not have depth at AAA or as long men have serious problems matching up when the summer turns grueling. It was only 2 years ago that we had to go to the scrap heap by May first to get the back end of our rotation on the field because Cashner, Wells and others got hurt. It happens. Injuries are part of baseball.

    Healthy pitchers now have between 25 an 30 starts a year. Figure it out with 5 guys each getting 30 starts (not going to happen) we will still need an extra 12 starts somewhere. So having a good swing man and a strong 4/5/6 option in AAA is not only smart but it is necessary.

    Please remember this post come May 1 when we have 3 pitchers on the DL and Baker is not back yet. You will wish that we signed 10 instead of 4 starters.

    • Brett

      Your overall point is totally spot on.

      But a team is very much limited in the quantity of free agent starters it can sign – they tend not to like to sign on with teams who already have six or seven viable starting pitchers. That’s why the rest of your depth has to come from in-house.

      • Rich H

        Totally agree but the Cubs did sign 4 starters (or at least can start). So now with the depth of young pitchers at AAA that will be ready some time around June, we are going to need some health early or we will be in trouble again.

        I assume that Baker will be May 1 even though he says it could be sooner. That puts us down to 3 starters brought in that are shooting to be in the rotation on opening day. Wood can do they Iowa highway thing if he still has an option (being lazy have not checked). So now the rotation looks like Garza. Shark. Jackson, Villenueva, and Feildman or Wood. Not bad but a huge drop is going to happen if someone doesn’t make the opening bell( again it happens sometimes). So I am still of the mind that we need one more short term asset that can start but has no problem being in the pen.

        If no other moves are made to our starters then we are going to hope that Baker and Garza are both honest with us and ready to go on opening day.

  • nkniacc13

    I like the depth that the cubs are starting to get for the rotation. That hopefully allows A. Caberra and M Bowden to start all season in AAA. I know that Vizciano will be on an inning limit this year but what about Whitsnack? You won’t have a bunch of depth with all 4 of these guys likely to have some sort of inning limit thru the season

  • True(ly) Blue

    It’s hard for me to believe that any Cub fan could be unhappy with the signing of not one but two major league pitchers in one day. Granted that they are not the highest ranked (paid) pitchers in the free agent market but lets face it, future performance is a crap shoot. Baseball players are paid for past performance which does not always predict future performance (either up or down). Some of the worst contracts in baseball history are (were) for pitchers. The really good thing about these signings other (than two in one day) is that it cost the Cubs NO, repeat NO young potential studs. What a great way to build a team, eh? Draft well and sign reasonably priced free agents. Go Theo and Cubs!!!!!!

  • nkniacc13

    OK so barring any trades you have a pitching staff of correct:
    Baker DL

    So outside of who is 4 and 5 starter and bullpen long man and 1 or 2 bullpen arms this is the staff right?

  • Fastball

    Now go sign JP Howell and i will be stoked

    • Brett

      Adding a JP Howell type makes the pitching situation look downright above average.

      The offense, on the other hand, still looks potentially frightful.

      • Kevin B

        Yes Brett – the offense! That will be what hurts this year as of now. If Bourn drops in our lap on a 3 year deal and Steward bounces back then it could be interesting. I think Wellington Castillo is a big upgrade from Soto offensively. Castillo seems to have a nice OBP and can hit a bit.

        But Bourn in Center and as a leadoff man, this can get interesting. I like our staff, our starters and our bullpen, I really do.

  • Eric O.

    Headley is way too overpriced right now, but I do believe u could get a prospect like Gyorko for the right package. The Padres need starting pitching and you could give up a Vitters or Christian Villanueva. U could even throw in Marmol. Gyorko hasn’t proven anything yet….just like Mike Olt, and that’s why we could get him. The Padres want to show they are trying to be competitive just like everyone else. We must address the third base problem because there aren’t any free agents in the next few years at that position worth a damn.

  • Fastball

    We still can get in on Cody Ross to play right field. Maybe even sign Bourne as well. There is nothing stopping that from happening. If we signed both of those guys we would be contenders this year. There would be enough offense with those two guys in the lineup. If we can get Bourne on a 3 year and Ross on a 3 year I would sign those guys in a heartbeat.

    Bourne cf
    Castro ss
    Rizzo 1b
    Soriano lf
    Ross rf
    Stewart 3b
    Castillo c
    Barney 2b

    That would work nicely with an above average pitching staff.

  • Kevin

    Michael Bourn? Do you think the FO will actually give up their 2nd round pick?

    • Jeremy

      Yes. A second round pick shouldn’t stop you from signing a quality MLB player. 2nd rounds picks usually amount to nothing.

      • Adventurecizin’ Justin

        But this draft is unique in that a 2nd round pick will come much sooner than previous drafts because the supplemental rounds will be reduced (at least, that’s what I’ve been lead to believe). In that case, there’s no way I give up a 2nd round pick for a .339 OBP speedy guy who strikes out 150 times a season. Plus, I think he wants too many years.

  • CubsFan5391

    I think you have to let the rest of the winter play out before we can even scratch the surface of how good this team can be. There are still many moveable pieces like garza, soriano, marmol, and even dejesus or wood. There are also free agents that could possibly settle for a shorter term deal like bourn. Ross and Swisher could be nice additions at the right amount of years and money. The farm is almost stocked and ready for trades in upcoming years. Great signings so far this winter, though. Pitchers that can give 200+ innings a year are hard to come by, so you have to acquire them when possible. Jackson is just a piece of the contending puzzle.

  • Jbb

    Wow just returned from the blizzard. Kevin B Carlos Marmol should be the one traded by opening day. Carlos V I like. The team needs to move out the unreliable players who just kill pitching staffs.

  • Fastball

    I think we can sign Howell now. If he was hoping to not play for a team that sucks. I think we can be vastly improved if we sign Bourne and Ross. Those guys would carry us right up to the time Soler and Almora are ready. If Jackson puts things together we could always trade Bourne or Ross. We would have DeJesus as a 4th OF’er. Have Sappelt as a 5th and I think we would be fairly straight in the OF. We have Valbuena as a utility infielder. We could shake things up a little bit in the NL Central this year. There is no reason for Theo to not make those moves in the OF. Neither of them will block anyone except Jackson and he hasn’t proven himself. If he does then we have a good problem not a bad one. And Sign JP Howell because he will shore up our BP in a big way.

  • Fastball

    Yes I do. The 2nd round pick would be nice to have but they can still have one hell of a draft minus the 2nd round draft pick. I get a real ML center fielder vs a 2nd round pick who may never make it anywhere. I don’t blink on that move.

  • Dustin

    I would love to get Bourn or Ross but I doubt we go after both,maybe one though.

  • Gary Scott 25

    How sad after the Hendry years we have to specify no trade clauses!

  • someday…2015?

    I’v been on the “sign Bourn boat” since day one. My stance has not changed one bit. If the Cubs could put a 1, 2, 3 of Bourn, Castro, and Rizzo out their everyday then you start to see a more well rounded team, offensively and defensively.

    • Adventurecizin’ Justin

      How long would you sign Bourn for? I’m not sure I want a speed guy who strikes out 150 times a year. His career OBP is like .339. I’d rather add pop…we already have DeJesus and Castro at the top of the order.

      • someday…2015?

        Two year deal with an option for a third year. It would take him falling into the Cubs lap to get a deal like that done, but I think as free agency plays out that may just happen. Mariners? Do they want another Chone Figgens? No.(granted not the same position or type of player) Rangers? Maybe, but I hear they like their CF prospect Leyonis Martin. Dodgers?…had to throw them in because as we know, THEY SIGN EVERYBODY!!! A mystery team is always a possibility to sign a player like Bourn who’s price may have gone down since the start of the off-season. All that being said I actually think the Cubs are in a very good position to sign Bourn to an extremely favorable contract.

        I wouldn’t go higher then 4 years for Bourn.

  • Fastball

    I think if we land one of Bourne or Ross the other will follow. Neither are going to be long term deals and they will both be priced inline with the market which will allow us to move them in 2 years. It’s the smartest move Theo could make right now. No more scrubs from the scrap piles around baseball. Neither of those two guys are super stars but they can be above average for a couple years.