The Chicago Cubs nearly added three promising names -- Randall Delgado, Dan Haren, and Anibal Sanchez -- to their rotation over the last several months, but varying circumstances caused all three deals to fall through. After Sanchez decided to re-sign with Detroit last week, things were looking pretty bleak for the Cubs and their apparent goal of adding a game-changing starter to their rotation.
Fortune may have finally turned for the Cubs, however, as the club has signed free-agent right-hander Edwin Jackson to a four-year, $52 million contract, according to Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago:
#Cubs have signed Edwin Jackson (four years, $52 million) and Carlos Villanueva, pending physicals.— Patrick Mooney (@CSNMooney) December 20, 2012
Jackson, 29, was the top starting pitcher left on the free agent market, a title he now hands over to former Cardinals right-hander Kyle Lohse. The Texas Rangers and Cleveland Indians were thought to be alongside the Cubs in pursuit of Jackson, so they may now turn their attention to Lohse.
Traded six times in his first nine big-league seasons, Jackson may finally have the opportunity to settle some on Chicago's North Side. The right-hander sought a multi-year deal last season but had to settle for a one-year, $11 million deal with the Washington Nationals (which led to his firing of agent Scott Boras).
Jackson is the second pitcher Theo Epstein and the Cubs have signed today, as the club agreed to a two-year, $10 million deal with right-hander Carlos Villanueva this morning. Chicago's rotation now consists of three new acquisitions -- Jackson, Scott Baker, and Scott Feldman -- plus a fourth, Villanueva, as a spot starter option. Matt Garza is still the club's No. 1 starter -- Jackson has never had ace numbers -- but Jackson may take over that role at mid-season if the team decides to offer Garza as trade bait again.
Jackson posted a 4.03 ERA and 8.0 K/9 rate in 31 starts for the Nationals this past season, and owns a career 4.40 ERA and 6.9 K/9 rate in a decade of big-league ball.
A version of this post previously appeared on MLB Daily Dish.