After missing out on Anibal Sanchez last week, the Cubs were linked with free agent starter Edwin Jackson all this week. It looks like they got their man, as everyone and their brother are reporting that Jackson has agreed to a four year, $52 million deal pending a physical.
In essence, Jackson represents the first big-time free agent to sign up for team president Theo Epstein’s rebuilding project. But given the way the price of pitching has skyrocketed, the Cubs are no doubt hoping that Jackson’s four-year, $52 million deal looks reasonable as more television money pours into the game.
The Cubs will be Jackson’s eighth MLB team. What should we expect to see from him?
This is a power arm. Only seven pitchers in the majors averaged a higher velocity with their fastball than Jackson (93.5 mph) last season, according to the online database at Fangraphs: David Price; Jeff Samardzija; Matt Moore; Justin Verlander; Max Scherzer; Jordan Zimmerman; and Edinson Volquez.People who’ve been around Jackson say he’s a good clubhouse presence, suggesting that being traded six times doesn’t mean he’s a problem child. It’s more that the stuff is so intriguing, and pitchers who can throw 200 innings don’t come cheap.
The Cubs would not confirm or comment on the reports but Matt Garza did. Garza was Jackson’s teammate in Tampa in 2008. He wondered out loud on his Twitter account what uniform number the right-hander would wear with the Cubs. Garza then welcomed Jackson on Twitter: “Like I said last night, EJax is my boy! I heard it from a cubs horse last night!! That horse being EJax! Nice to have another in the stable!”