Cubs Sign Carlos Villanueva

The Cubs have reportedly signed Carlos Villanueva to an undisclosed deal. Barring some unexpected turn of events (like Bob Nightengale involving the Nippon Ham Fighters in some insane bidding war), this appears to be final. What does it mean for the Cubs?

I'm not sure what the contract is, but almost certainly it means that the Cubs are going give him a great chance to start for them, and it's probably 1-year or 1-year with a team option.

Villanueva has a marked difference in peripherals from starting and relieving. His OPS during starts is .804 (that's bad) and during relief stints it's .677 (that's good). I'm not really that jazzed at first glance with his stuff: he doesn't throw over 89mph and doesn't change speeds that well (changeup is 81 mph, though he does throw a curveball 10% of the time). He's got the pitch arsenal of a starter, but has never really put it together for one reason or another. His FIP last year was 4.71, though the 2.65 K/BB rate is pretty encouraging. He was also either very unlucky against the longball last year, or we are all going to suffer through it in 2013. I'm willing to believe it's the latter, unfortunately, as his career HR/9 is 1.31.

If I were a betting man, I'd say this is a one year deal for around $4.5 million, with an option year at $6 or so. That seems reasonable to me for a starter flier, and probably about as much as he could reasonably expect coming off of a decidedly average year. Any less, and I'll be happy. Any more, and I'd be disappointed, but not extremely so.