The only thing definite to come out all the reports on Wednesday night is that the Cubs are trying to add pitching to their roster.
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer appear to be talking to Carlos Villanueva and Edwin Jackson and according to Jon Heyman, the Cubs agreed to terms on a deal with Carlos Villanueva. Not long after Heyman’s report, multiple reports indicated the Cubs were close on a deal with Villanueva while also working on a contract with Edwin Jackson. The Cubs are not the only team interested in Jackson and the bidding for the 29-year old right hander reportedly reached the four-year, $52 million mark.
According to the Sun-Times, Carlos Villanueva would be a short-term commitment while Edwin Jackson would be looking at a long-term deal.
If Epstein and Hoyer are looking to add both pitchers, they will have to clear three spots on the 40-man roster. The Cubs have not announced the deal with Nate Schierholtz that was reportedly agreed to during the Winter Meetings … the 40-man roster currently stands at 40 players.
According to Comcast SportsNet, the Cubs were working toward finalizing a deal with Carlos Villanueva on Wednesday night. The terms of the contract were not leaked. Villanueva would give the Cubs much-needed depth on the pitching staff. Villanueva is coming off a good season in Toronto and started nearly half of the games he pitching in.
Carlos Villanueva posted a 7-7 record in 38 games, 16 starts, last season in Toronto with a 4.16 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. Villanueva just turned 29 (November 28, 1983) and was 5-7 with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP as a starter. In 16 starts, 92 innings, Villanueva surrendered 87 hits with 25 walks and 86 strikeouts … more than a 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio (8.4 SO/9).
Villanueva was 20-24 in 230 games, 27 starts, with a 4.34 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP over five seasons with the Brewers.
If the Cubs sign Villanueva, it will not go down as one of the more memorable signings in team history but Villanueva will give them an experienced big league pitcher that can start in the event that both Matt Garza and Scott Baker are not able to begin the season on the active roster … Baker is questionable at best due to the fact he had Tommy John surgery last April. But the bottom line is that the organization is void of pitching depth, especially in the upper levels of the system, and the Cubs cannot run out a pitching staff next season similar to the one they finished with last year.
The Cubs are one of at least three teams in discussions with Edwin Jackson. Reportedly, the Rangers and Indians are also in the mix for Jackson, who could be looking at a four-year, $52 million contract. Jim Bowden reported late Wednesday night that at the time the Cubs were the frontrunner for Jackson. The Nationals paid Jackson $11 million last season and he is reportedly looking for a raise to around a $12-$13 million AAV.
Edwin Jackson has a big arm and upside but has not pitched to expectations and will pitch a majority of the 2013 season at 29 years old (September 9, 1983). Jackson showed how good he can be with the White Sox over his last 11 starts of the 2010 season (4-2 in 11 starts with a 3.24 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP) and then again in 2011 (12-9 in 32 appearances, 31 starts, with a 3.79 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP with the Sox and Cardinals) but he took a step back a year ago. Jackson has always struggled with throwing strikes … in his no-hitter in 2010 with the Diamondbacks, he walked eight batters.
Jackson’s WHIP last year was the lowest of his career (1.218) and for only the second time, he gave up fewer hits (173) than innings pitched (189 2/3). Jackson also finished the season with his highest strikeout to walk ratio and walked a career-low 58 batters.
Stay Tuned …