Cubs add right-handed pitchers Edwin Jackson, Carlos Villanueva
BY TONI GINNETTI firstname.lastname@example.org December 20, 2012 9:46PM
ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 29: Starter Edwin Jackson #22 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium on July 29, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) R:\Merlin\Getty_Photos\120079623.jpg
Updated: January 22, 2013 10:06AM
The Cubs have added two more arms to challenge for rotation spots after signing right-handers Edwin Jackson and Carlos Villanueva.
The deals where completed Thursday, pending physicals.
Both 29-year-olds are expected to compete with returning starters Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood and newly signed Scott Baker and Scott Feldman.
Jackson’s deal is the bigger one — a four-year package worth $52 million. Villanueva got a two-year deal worth $10 million.
Neither gets no-trade rights, part of a contract policy by team president Theo Epstein.
Though Jackson has pitched for six teams in the last six seasons — including the White Sox in 2010 and 2011 — he is a former All-Star (2009) who also pitched a no-hitter for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He has averaged nearly 200 innings per year and is considered a durable starter.
He was part of the Washington Nationals’ National League East-winning team last season, going 10-11 with a 4.03 ERA in 31 starts.
His time in Chicago might have been a plus in making the decision to sign with the Cubs instead of other pursuers, including the Texas Rangers and Cleveland Indians.
The Sox acquired Jackson at midseason in 2010 for pitcher Daniel Hudson, who went on to become a regular starter for the D-backs.
Jackson went 4-2 with a 3.24 ERA for the Sox in 2010 and was 7-7 with a 3.92 ERA in 2011 before he was traded again July 27 in a three-way deal that sent Jackson and Mark Teahen to the Toronto Blue Jays for pitchers Zach Stewart and Jason Frasor, with Jackson then going to the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Sox subsequently traded Stewart and Frasor. Stewart went to the Boston Red Sox as part of the Kevin Youkilis deal, and Frasor was traded back to Toronto after the 2011 season.
Jackson is coming off a one-year deal in which he made $11 million with the Nats.
Villanueva made 29 starts for the Blue Jays over the last two seasons and had indicated he wanted the opportunity to remain a starter.
He also made 42 relief appearances for the Jays and had been a reliever with the Milwaukee Brewers.
The signings come within days of the Cubs losing out on pitcher Anibal Sanchez, who would have been the most significant free-agent signing of Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer’s tenure.
Sanchez re-signed with the Detroit Tigers, but in acquiring Jackson and Villanueva, the Cubs got what many consider two of the better remaining free-agent pitchers.
Still on the market are right-handers Kyle Lohse, Rafael Soriano, Shaun Marcum, Matt Lindstrom and Brandon Lyon and lefties Joe Saunders, J.P. Howell and Francisco Liriano.