Cubs Add Jackson and Villanueva … More Roster Moves on the Horizon

If the reports are correct, the Cubs added two pitchers to the mix on Thursday.  The Cubs reportedly agreed to terms on a four-year, $52 million contract with Edwin Jackson and a two-year, $10 million contract with Carlos Villanueva … and both contracts do not include no-trade clauses, a new club policy.

The deal with Carlos Villanueva could be announced on Friday according to David Kaplan but it might be after Christmas before Edwin Jackson’s signing will be made official. The Cubs must clear three spots on the 40-man in order to add Villanueva, Jackson and Nate Schierholtz to the roster.

Edwin Jackson

Edwin Jackson’s new agents did something Scott Boras could not do a year ago, find a team to sign Jackson to a multi-year contract. Jackson left Scott Boras last July and signed with Legacy Sports. While Jackson’s deal does not include a no-trade clause, many think Jackson will be able to perform better now that he has a little stability in where he will pitch.

FanGraphs liked the Jackson signing and said, “the Cubs have now acquired four interesting starting pitchers this winter. They’ve rebuilt their entire rotation, essentially, and have set themselves up to be able to trade Matt Garza – after he proves he’s healthy, anyway – without it creating a huge problem for their Major League team. They did the same drastic overhaul of their rotation that the Twins and Royals went after this winter, just they did it without giving up useful Major League outfielders or top outfield prospects in the process.”

FanGraphs  – Cubs Sign Edwin Jackson

The Price of Pitching

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer set out this off-season to add pitching to the organization and so far they have added eight arms to the mix. Scott Baker (one-year, $5.5 million guaranteed), Scott Feldman (one-year, $6 million guaranteed) signed early on and the Cubs re-signed Shawn Camp (one-year, $1.35 million guaranteed) before the market took off. The Cubs inked Kyuji Fujikawa to a two-year, $9.5 million guaranteed contract. The Cubs then selected Hector Rondon in the Rule 5 Draft and claimed Sandy Rosario off waivers.

After Anibal Sanchez decided to stay with the Tigers, the Cubs turned their focus to Edwin Jackson and Carlos Villanueva and added depth to the staff with both signings.

Jackson should slide right into the rotation with Jeff Samardzija, Matt Garza, Scott Feldman and Travis Wood. It is highly doubtful that Scott Baker will begin the year on the active roster and Arodys Vizcaino is ticketed for Triple-A when the Cubs feel he is ready to begin his season. Villanueva gives the Cubs insurance if Matt Garza is not ready at the start of the year or in the event of another injury.

All toll, the Cubs have spent $73.5 million on Jackson, Villanueva, Feldman and Baker and a grand total of $84.355 million (plus minimum salaries for Rosario and Rondon) on pitching this winter.

News, Notes and Rumors

According to David Kaplan, the Cubs do not plan on flipping either Edwin Jackson or Carlos Villanueva but Matt Garza could be another story.

According to multiple reports, Tom Gorzelanny will be returning to the NL Central next season. The former Cubs’ southpaw reached agreement on a two-year contract with the Brewers, pending a physical, believed to be worth close to $6 million.

Adam Greenberg inked a minor league contract with the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday that does not include a non-roster invite to Spring Training.

Matt Garza appears to be happy with the moves the Cubs made on Thursday. Garza welcomed Edwin Jackson and Carlos Villanueva on his twitter account and said he is happy to be reunited with Jackson. Garza and Jackson were teammates in Tampa during the 2008 season.

Cubs’ Spring Training tickets to games at HoHoKam Park go on sale on January 4 … and pitchers and catchers report to Fitch Park in just 51 days.

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