Cubs Working on Deals for Carlos Villanueva and Edwin Jackson?

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.

Carlos Villanueva

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.

Carlos Villanueva’s Page on Baseball-Reference

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.

Edwin Jackson

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.

Edwin Jackson’ Page on Baseball-Reference

Stay Tuned …

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  • daverj

    If somehow we sign both, a rotation of Garza, Jackson, Shark, Villanueva and Baker (with Feldman until Baker is ready) would make for a middle of the pack NL rotation … much better than last season.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Here’s where you have to say that the Cubs miss Paul Maholm. Maholm is 30 and competent. The Cubs did not get enough for him. He’s better than Villanueva and Feldman, and probably cheaper than both. Feldman got $6 million. Maholm makes $5 million. We do not yet know what it cost to buy Villanueva.

    • Shawon O’Meter

      The signing and trading of Maholm is exactly what we should be doing. We got a very good 2/3 of a year and an excellent prospect to hopefully build around. Lets not lament the loss of Maholm. With our signings of Baker, Feldman and maybe Villaneuva hopefully we have another Maholm type signing in there and they are flipped for a solid building block. If so I certainly won’t be lamenting their loss next year.

      • Theboardrider

        I was thinking the same thing about all 3, hopefully thy produce and bring back prospects at the deadline! Maholm did more for us by being teaded than he would have by being here. Every move the Cubs make has an eye on the future. 2013 is just something we have to get through.

      • Tom U

        Shawon O’Meter, I hope you are around for the minor league season. I’m expecting big things out of Shawon Dunston Jr.

        • BosephHeyden

          Villanueva won’t kill the the Cubs, since it is one, maybe two years max, and there’s no reason to pay him a fortune. But Jackson is going to want a lot of money and more years for a pitcher that will, at best, max out at a #2 starter’s level. Worse, it’s going to convince the front office that they now have their ace in either Jackson or Garza or Samardzija (especially true when they told Sanchez he would be their ace). They don’t have an ace. There’s no way to obtain an ace in this market without making a trade. And going about business under the impression we have our #1 guy is going to put us in the same boat as the last management staff that figured Wood and Prior and Zambrano would be enough of an ace to carry us forever.

          • calicub

            i really don’t think they thought sanchez was going to b the ace, nor do i think they tink Garza is an ace. What i really think is going to happen is, Garza and baker start the year on the DL and feldman/villanueva will start in their places, plus EJAX


            when BAKER AND GARZA return, two of wood villanueva or feldman wil be moved back to the pen or demoted. Come the trade deadline, Garza likely will be traded and EJAX will take his place in the org as this #2 SP they are willing to trade. They will get a solid preformance out of EJAX and sometie mid-2013 or 2014 they will trade him at the dead line

        • Shawon O’Meter

          Absolutely Tom. Love your work! Been visiting every day for about a year and a half. Just started joining the posting conversations. Thanks for all you do.

    • Tony_Hall

      Why do you continue to talk about Maholm as something bad? They received Vizcaino in return for Maholm and Reed Johnson. Vizcaino is more valuable to the Cubs than Maholm, with the minor league system lacking major league arms at the upper level, he was a good addition to the team and there are opinions the Cubs got the better Braves prospect in this deal.

      “Arodys Vizcaino is the most talented of the bunch. Going into the 2012 season, Keith Law ranked him as the 12th best prospect in all of baseball. His opinion of Vizcaino is so high that when I asked him whom he’d rather have, a healthy Randall Delgado or the rehabbing Vizcaino, he didn’t hesitate. Vizcaino. The only reason he was available was because he had hurt his elbow twice, the second time it required TJ surgery.
      Law is not the only one who is high on the former Yankee and Braves prospect. Industry sources I have spoken with have indicated that the Cubs have a potential steal in Vizcaino. Whether he becomes a #2 or #3 starter or a closer, the 22 year old RHP has impact potential because of a mid 90s fastball, a hammer curve, and a solid change. He also throws with surprisingly good command for such a youthful power pitcher.”

  • GaryLeeT

    At least they are almost exclusively looking at arms outside the system. I guess it had to be done, but that emptying of the Cub system’s kitchen cupboards last year, was beyond brutal.

    • Tony_Hall

      I am going to assume you are talking at the upper levels, emptying out all the journeyman AAAA pitchers and low level prospects.

      The Cubs farm system’s kitchen cupboards are actually getting filled with guys from the lower levels and recent 2 drafts taking up a lot of space, forcing the moving out of the upper levels.

      • J Daniel


        I agree but those guys are still a few years away. Although I believe some will be good, we don’t know how many of them will make it.

        I would agree with the signing of Jackson, he is only 29. He has great stuff and sometimes it takes awhile to get it. If he stays like he has been he can always be flipped for more prospects. But I suspect they are thinking along the lines of keeping Shark and Jackson which would be at the very worst an excellent #3 and #4 with the possibility of being a #2 and #3. I also believe that Garza, Baker, and Feldman are guys that will be flipped for prospects which will continue building of the system.

        Something else trade wise has to be brewing as well or they will have to DFA at least 3 guys if Jackson is signed.

        So, here is to hoping we see today…From The Wire Cubs Agree to Sign Edwin Jackson.

        • Tony_Hall

          It seems Garza thinks Jackson is coming to Chicago anyway.

          The lower levels of the farms system is where the talent, mostly, is located. The lower levels are going to be another year or two before we start to see guys close to the majors. Adding guys on short term deals right now is the way to go. At the same time the pitching market is what the pitching market is, so if they were interested in Sanchez for 5 years, EJAX could be being offered 4 years. He is an innings eater, who has upside, and 4 years would take him from 29-32 years.

          As far as some prospects will make it, some won’t. Absolutely. There are no can’t miss prospects. But with an actual player development system to put these young guys through, we will see some make it. Which ones we don’t know, it may not be the ones that we talk about all the time. That is why they need lots of prospects that project to make the majors.

      • mutantbeast

        cubs right now are mostly building position player minor league impact players(Baez, Soler, Vogelbach, etc). The pitching in the minors isn’t there yet. Vizcaiano becomes a very big key to success within the next 3 years, since hes the only likely true impact type pitcher in the system, unless either Maples or Underwood come quickly, or Whitenack rehabs back to his preTJ level.

        • Tony_Hall

          Vizcaino is going to be pitching at Wrigley this year and next year either in the rotation or as a late inning pitcher. He isn’t 3 years away.

          They have arms like the guys you mention, mostly 3-4+ years away.

  • scott

    Is it safe to say Travis Wood is going to be joining Russell as lefty #2 in the pen?Barring injuries or trades of course?

    • Tony_Hall

      I would say that he is going to have a hard time winning a rotation spot, especially if we sign both Villanueva and Jackson.

      Then again, as a left handed arm in the pen, he may find his place on a major league roster, just like the guy we traded to get him, Sappelt and Torreyes.

    • cubs1967

      which only proves, the marshall trade was a huge loser. saffelt is a 5th OF at best. torreyes is not a prospect (he hit .261 at high A) and is behind barney, watkins, devoss, villaneuva. if t wood end up in the pen…….ends all questions over the winner.

      • Theboardrider


      • Raymond Robert Koenig

        Marshall is a lefty reliever who can’t close.

      • Shawon O’Meter

        You do realize before he became a very good set up man that Marshall was a back end of the rotation lefty who couldn’t quite stick in the rotation correct?

    • mutantbeast

      He should be. He stunk as a starter last year.

  • tonydann1984

    I can not understand everyone talking about signing a player then flipping that player for prospects . If that’s what cubs fans want maybe you should become a Marlins fan. Paul Maholm should have not been traded ! I do understand we need to build the farm system but you have to draft smart.

    • J Daniel

      In the perfect world you are correct but we all know how bad drafting and player development has been forever with the Cubs. Any team can get lucky now and then, which they have proven. This system was so bare this approach was absolutely necessary.

      Also, you can’t blame this management for the past failings.this management has a plan! We can argue or disagree with it but they do have a plan and are executing it. Will it work? Time will tell but I for one am happy there is a development plan in place and it is not a seat of the pants softball league mentality that is hoping to catch lightning in a bottle plan!

  • Jason Penrod

    I saw they already got Villanueva, and if they get Jackson at the 4/52mil range, this has the makings of a very solid rotation. Sure, they wont have a clear #1, but with a rotation of 2’s and 3’s that is still solid. Garza, Shark, Jackson, Villanueva, and Feldman. Not too shabby. I like what the new management has done this offseason. Sure they could have spent a fortune on players in their mid 30’s, but they held back. They won’t win the pennant with that staff, but who knows, maybe they trade off a couple at the deadline and continue to stock the farm until they can compete. I like it.