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Cubs sign Edwin Jackson to four-year, $52 million deal

Dec 20, 2012, 3:21 PM EDT

edwin jackson getty Getty Images

UPDATE: Patrick Mooney of reports that it’s a done deal at four years and $52 million, with an official announcement coming once Jackson passes a physical exam.


Late last night the Cubs were said to be the “frontrunner” for Edwin Jackson and now Buster Olney of reports that the two sides are closing in on a four-year, $52 million deal.

After failing to land a huge contract as a free agent last offseason Jackson opted for a one-year, $11 million deal from the Nationals, who oddly did not make him a one-year, $13.3 million qualifying offer that would have guaranteed them a first-round draft pick when he signed elsewhere. Instead the Nationals replaced him with Dan Haren for one year, $13 million and will now let Jackson walk for nothing.

Jackson’s numbers were similar to 2011, but for whatever reason he drew significantly more interest this time around. His overall production and strikeout rates have never quite matched his raw stuff, but Jackson’s started at least 30 games in six straight seasons despite being just 29 years old.

During the past three seasons he made 94 starts and threw 599 innings with a 4.10 ERA. Over that same period Anibal Sanchez–who the Cubs reportedly thought they had signed for five years and $75 million–made 95 starts and threw 587 innings with a 3.70 ERA. Given those numbers and the fact that Sanchez was helped by more pitcher-friendly environments $52 million for Jackson seems reasonable after Sanchez got $80 million from the Tigers.

  1. Old Gator - Dec 20, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    I know a lot of people here think this is a wasteful signing on the part of the Cubs, but frankly, any move that gives your team intermittent credibility is a move you occasionally have to make.

    • amaninwhite - Dec 20, 2012 at 9:38 AM

      Except in Miami.

      • Old Gator - Dec 20, 2012 at 9:43 AM

        Correct. Here in Macondo, our front orifice factotums have seen clearly what a colossal waste of time and money credibility is. And you can believe that.

    • Jason @ IIATMS - Dec 20, 2012 at 9:56 AM

      By intermittent, you mean every 100 years or so, right?

      • Old Gator - Dec 20, 2012 at 12:24 PM

        Wel-l-l, I was thinking more like “every fifth day,” but by all means, feel free to extrapolate.

      • 78mu - Dec 20, 2012 at 8:08 PM


        Every 105 years.

      • Old Gator - Dec 20, 2012 at 9:35 PM

        Ah – you’ve got a Babylonian calendar, huh?

      • joegolfer - Dec 21, 2012 at 3:46 AM

        Won’t matter, since the Cubs won’t have to pay him anyway.
        Some Mayan guy told me the world is ending today, Dec. 21st, so the Cubs are off the hook on this contract.

    • dcfan4life - Dec 20, 2012 at 1:18 PM

      Anyone who has watched Edwin pitch consistantly understand why this may not be a good signing. The man has raw stuff, we all know that. And when he is on, he can be quite good. However, he is wildly inconsistant, and his stuff isnt good enough to get past his off days. When hes off, hes hammered. Pitches out over the plate and up. Big fat juicy pitches thrown up like grapefruits when hes off. And hes off way too often. This guy isnt 22 or 23, hes 29 with 8 years big league experience. And he has the same track record year after year. Never gets hurt, dominant at times, pounded at other times. Dont be surprised if the Cubs get both and only remember the latter, especially now with this contract…

      • derklempner - Dec 20, 2012 at 3:27 PM

        Ah, kind of like Carlos Zambrano, no?

      • Caught Looking - Dec 20, 2012 at 3:53 PM

        This deal apparently has a full no trade clause.

  2. shawnuel - Dec 20, 2012 at 9:27 AM


  3. stex52 - Dec 20, 2012 at 9:33 AM

    Intermittent credibility? What a totally cynical observation. But one based in fact.

    • Old Gator - Dec 20, 2012 at 9:44 AM

      But only occasionally.

  4. psilenttype - Dec 20, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    Nut ass contract!

  5. shuusin - Dec 20, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    Jackson wouldn’t have received this kind of contract if the Nationals had made a qualifying offer. Must have been some agreement by Boras last year to non-tender Jackson to increase his future FA value.

  6. tashkalucy - Dec 20, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    Theo Epstein overpaying so-so pitchers on long-term contracts is par for the course. He’s done that since day one with the Red Sox.

    I’m having trouble following this massive rebuild that he and Hoyer are doing. In most successful rebuilds I’ve seen a team may pick up a few older veterans to pitch and play the field, having them set a tone for the younger players by being an example as to how a major leaguer prepares for games, handles pressure situations, etc. But these guys are trading some vets then signing others, releasing vets then signing them back…..I don’t see a plan here, just a lot of hedging. A few months ago Epstein was talking about how he was trading away vet pitchers but in a few years he would be trading for vet pitchers as the team prepared to make its move. Now he’s signing vet pitchers. What’s this signing about? Is he signing the guy to trade him for prospects in a year a la the Miami Marlins? How about giving the young arms that the Cubs have innings at the major league level – isn’t that what rebuilding is all about?

    I always felt Epstein was radically overrated. He spent like kid in a candy store with an unlimited credit card – especially for pitchers – most of whom were disappointments until John Farrell showed up as pitching coach and and made Epstein and Francona look good. I mean come ‘on, Cherington did not run the Red Sox into the ground in one year on his own – Epstein left a mess there that anyone could see.

    This wildly publicized rebuild that the Cubs are doing with no one asking what’s going on just amazes me. At the same time, here is Jon Daniels over in Texas, a guy that has built a contending team from nxt to nothing that went to WS two years in a row, has built a stocked farm system, is staying within a budget, and this guy is slammed because Hamilton left and Daniels made a remark about being “disappointed”. The national sports media has always played favorites with front office people and owners as well as players. How about seeing things for what they are?

    • mgdsquiggy17 - Dec 20, 2012 at 11:13 AM

      ” How about giving the young arms that the Cubs have innings at the major league level – isn’t that what rebuilding is all about?”

      Because they don’t have any young arms ready at the major league level. That is the problem. The Cubs have a serious lack or arms in the system. Maybe if you had checked it out instead of taking your bias against him already and running with it because they are signing a bunch of 1-2 year deals (besides the proposed Jackson one) to fill out the rotation for this year. Just because they are signing guys to short term deals to fill holes and possibly move at the deadline doesn’t mean they still aren’t committed to rebuilding.

    • nick5253 - Dec 20, 2012 at 11:38 AM

      “This wildly publicized rebuild that the Cubs are doing with no one asking what’s going on just amazes me.”

      You obviously don’t read the local Chicago media. For every “Theo is doing the rebuild the right way” story there is at least one “The Cubs should spend money to compete now” article. You are never going to please everyone. I am holding off on my judgement of the front office until next year. The cupboard for the Cubs upper minors was incredibly bare. The best they had was shipped to Tampa for Garza. I would prefer a total and complete dismantling of what Hendry had built up, selling off all of these bad contracts and seeing what you have from the minors for a year or two.

      It seemed as though they were going that route and at the same time, supplementing with these more flyer type free agent signings that they could flip at the deadline for even more prospects. That worked well with Maholm last year and I think they’ll hit on a couple this year (as well as miss a few). The Jackson signing is the only anomoly I can see, but at 13 mil per year, it really doesn’t hinder the payroll at all and given the lack of pitching talent coming up in the next 4 years, it makes sense to have an innnings eater guy locked up for 4 years.

    • senioreditor2 - Dec 20, 2012 at 12:25 PM

      I don’t believe we’ll see Theo’s plan until they rid themselves of Soriano’s contract. I always believed it was a 5 year plan.

  7. patsandsox - Dec 20, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    Theo is a media created fraud. He took a team that Dan Duquette had well stocked with Manny, Pedro, Nomar, Veritek Wakefield, Lowe, Daubach, Everette, Trot Nixon, John Valentine Scott Hatterberg, Rich Garces Troy O’Leary and an aging Saberhagen. He made a couple of good trades (the Nomar move) and Won a WS with Dans team.
    All his Free Agent moves were overpays at best and most were huge busts.

    Notice that the owners didnt try to keep Theo in Boston

    Cherrington seems like another one that over pays for medicore talent but at least he doesnt get us stuck in for 5-7 years each time like the boy blunder did

    • senioreditor2 - Dec 20, 2012 at 12:51 PM

      At the end of the 2002 season, Lucchino appointed Epstein to replace interim GM Mike Port. Epstein is credited with making several key acquisitions, including David Ortiz, Kevin Millar, and Curt Schilling. FAR FROM A FRAUD!

    • 18thstreet - Dec 20, 2012 at 3:53 PM

      I’m fascinated that anyone who won two World Serieseseses with Boston could ever be considered overrated.

      Anyway, he’s the 2002 Red Sox, which Theo inherited:

      Yes, there were some building blocks there — the 93 wins would probably good enough for the playoffs in most years. Duquette built a good team. But — this is the thing — he didn’t win a World Series. The 2003 team didn’t win, either. Came close. Fun fact: the Red Sox hadn’t won a World Series since the strike-shortened year of 1981. Now, to be fair, that one WAS third championship since 1973. But ending a 23-year drought? That’s impressive. And it was ever MORE impressive that the Red Sox won despite Jim Rice’s injured hand forcing Ed Jurak to play third base.

      • lanflfan - Dec 20, 2012 at 4:37 PM

        “Fun fact: the Red Sox hadn’t won a World Series since the strike-shortened year of 1981. Now, to be fair, that one WAS third championship since 1973. But ending a 23-year drought? That’s impressive. And it was ever MORE impressive that the Red Sox won despite Jim Rice’s injured hand forcing Ed Jurak to play third base.”

        I’m sure my brain is just not interpreting this right, but unless I have gone temporarily insane (always a possibility) the Dodgers won the 1981 World Series, and their AL opponent was the Yankees. Boston finished 1981 with a record of 59-49, good for 5th place in the AL East. Prior to 2004, the last Red Sox championship was 1918.

      • buggieowens - Dec 21, 2012 at 2:05 AM

        Where on Earth did you get that from? So when everyone was talking about that whole 86 year thing and the Curse of the Bambino, what did you think they were talking about? Well, at least you are right about Theo and winning the WS twice.

      • 18thstreet - Dec 21, 2012 at 9:41 AM

        Um, I was making a joke. Mocking the ignorance of patsandsox by making a bunch of statements that are ridiculous.

        I thought everyone knew that everyone knew that the previous Red Sox World Series win was 1918, which is why Theo Epstein’s credentials are impressive. If you DON’T think it’s a big deal to assemble the first (and second) Red Sox team since 1918 to win a World Series, then — fine — Theo’s an overrated media creation.

  8. professormaddog31 - Dec 20, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    There’s currently a blizzard going on here in Wisconsin, and every time I think about the pitchers that the Cubs have signed – and not signed – it makes me want to go out onto my front lawn and allow the snow to bury me alive.

  9. hackerjay - Dec 20, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    Everyone that thinks JAckson is just a #4 starter has obviously never looked at what Jackson has done over the last few years. He’s not an ace by any stretch, but he’s way better then a #4.

    Over the last three years he’s 27th in the league in WAR (Right around the same area as Lincecum, Cueto, and Floyd), he’s 30th in innings pitched, 43rd in FIP, and 27th in Ks. Put all of that together, and you have a guy that’s probably right around the 30th best pitcher in all of baseball. That’s a #2 pitcher on most teams, and at least a #3 on all but maybe three teams.

    • macjacmccoy - Dec 20, 2012 at 10:17 PM

      wheres he rank in era and whip? Stop cherry picking stats.

  10. timpaz - Dec 20, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    Think the Cubs could have used that money on a more reliable player than Jackson.

    • muckey - Dec 20, 2012 at 3:39 PM

      Reliable? The guy averages 31 starts a year since 2007. Pretty reliable.

    • senioreditor2 - Dec 20, 2012 at 3:39 PM

      6 straight years 31+ starts…..I’m thinking he’s reliable….. I assume you meant more productive or successful?

      • senioreditor2 - Dec 20, 2012 at 3:40 PM


  11. muckey - Dec 20, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    How long before somebody says a deal hasn’t been reached and that Jackson is still talking to other teams?

  12. spudchukar - Dec 20, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    Since 2008 Jackson has pitched for 6 teams. What is it that Tampa Bay, Detroit, Arizona, Chicago (A), St. Louis, Washington and LA (N), know that the Cubs do not?

  13. hisgirlgotburrelled - Dec 20, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    In 17 quality starts he had an ERA of 1.71… of course, this means he had just 17 out of 31 quality starts.

    • spudchukar - Dec 20, 2012 at 4:41 PM

      And Kyle Lohse posted 24 quality starts in a MLB leading 33 starts.

      • hisgirlgotburrelled - Dec 21, 2012 at 9:12 AM

        In what way is Lohse’s great season any way similar to Jackon’s inconsistency of a 55% QS%?

  14. yankeepunk3000 - Dec 20, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    wow 52 million??? we have just jumped the shark! this guy is crap yet for that much???? sad day for us indeed

    • 18thstreet - Dec 21, 2012 at 1:31 PM

      What do you mean “us”? Why is this a sad day for me? I’m not paying his salary.

  15. ocho - Dec 20, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    Whats so odd about not making a qualifying offer to him? Jackson is not worth $13 million and nobody was going to give up a draft pick for him with just as good/better options available. So at the end of the day he wouldve been back on the Nats getting paid about $6-7 million more than hes worth if they made a qualifying offer….good fit for a team not expected to contend (ie the 2012 Nationals), but he doesnt hold much value on a team expected to contend (ie the 2013 Nationals). That being said, he will be good for the Cubs.

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