As irritating/infuriating/frustrating or any other adjective you could use to describe the failed Anibal Sanchez signing was, it’s time for the Chicago Cubs to move on. And that means looking at other starting pitching options.
The Cubs made it clear that they’d like to acquire another quality arm for the rotation. Which means a couple of things. Matt Garza‘s future is still up in the air, so he could be traded this spring. Scott Baker probably won’t be ready for the season. The Cubs may not trust Travis Wood. One or more of these things could be the case.
On the free agent market, there aren’t too many other options. The two names that have popped up in connection with the Cubs since they failed to sign Sanchez have been Shaun Marcum and Edwin Jackson. Marcum’s name was popular with the Cubs early on, but we haven’t heard much about teams talking to him recently. Jackson looks like a guy that could sign in the near future, though.
Jackson wouldn’t cost nearly as much as Sanchez, but there are still mixed reviews as to whether or not the Cubs should pursue him. He’s a guy that has bounced around quite a bit, and is probably looking for a bit of stability. A three or four-year deal could be in the cards for him.
But is he worth that type of contract? Should the Cubs sign him, they’re probably looking at a three-year deal in the $12 million per year range. That’s not terrible by any stretch of the imagination.
You know what you’re getting from Edwin Jackson. You’re going to get around 200 innings, and an ERA that hovers just under four. His numbers last year were a bit disappointing, but he’s posted some very nice peripherals that make him an intriguing option for the Cubs. He posted a nice 3.79 xFIP and an ERA+ of 98, which isn’t terrible.
His control is fantastic. His WHIP last season was just 1.2, along with walking just under three hitters per nine. That’s very good. He does pitch to contact and doesn’t strike a lot of guys out. He’s also 29, which has scared some folks off.
Jackson seems to be something of a wild card, but he could be worth taking a chance on. He’s a very solid pitcher who could be worth a three-year deal for the right amount of money. Of course, it’s getting that right amount of money in a thin pitching market that will be the trick for the Cubs.
A deal could be on the horizon for Jackon, no matter who he signs with. But we do know that the Cubs have interest, and he’s certainly worth pursuing, for the right deal. If not, get ready to move onto Shaun Marcum.