Yesterday, the Cubs agreed to a four-year, 52 million deal with right-handed starting pitcher Edwin Jackson. Though the fans are somewhat skittish about these types of contracts, I think they can be happy about this deal. Jackson is a solid pitcher who has a good repertoire of pitches and has been quite durable over his nine-year MLB career. He is not ace material, but he will be a good two or three guy in the rotation for the Cubs. He has a mid-nineties fastball and good movement on his breaking pitches. I’ve always enjoyed watching him pitch a game, even when it was for the White Sox in 2010 or the Cardinals in 2011. Frankly, I’m surprised he’s never had a longer tenure with a team up until now (he’s pitched for seven different clubs in nine years). EJax (how Garza refers to him on Twitter) has been on some winning teams, and hopefully he will soon experience that situation with the Cubs. It does feel like the dedication to building a winning franchise has been there with the front office, but it has mostly felt nebulous until now.
It looked like the deals for Scott Baker and Scott Feldman were going to be as big as the deals would get this off season, but then the rumors surfaced that the Cubs were pursuing Anibal Sanchez. Though Sanchez ended up going back to the Tigers, the fact that the Cubs were in on him led fans to believe that the Cubs were aggressively pursuing some very significant free agent pitching. The signing of Jackson reiterates to Cubs fans that Epstein/Hoyer do have a time frame for building a winning team, and it is going to take the signing of players like Jackson to create the framework that will lead to success. The signing of players like Feldman, Baker, Schierholtz, etc. is great and all, but those type of signings keep the idea of winning in the near future pretty hazy. Going out and getting players like Jackson and Villanueva blows some of that haze away. Now, who is going to join Rizzo in driving in some runs?
He cried himself to sleep when Ted Lilly was traded to the Dodgers for Blake DeWitt and is currently in the market for a new favorite player. When the Cubs win the World Series, Andy is going to celebrate by juggling chainsaws.