Patrick Mooney was first with the news, and the usual suspects seem to be in agreement, though we at Obstructed View reserve the right to retract any and all free agent signing stories up until opening day. The deal is 4 years, $52 million and does not include a no-trade clause, per Heyman.
Brief thoughts on the deal, in the context of the entire offseason:
- The Cubs seem determined to avoid a repeat appearance of the overwhelming stream of awful starters that were trotted out at the end of last season. The future just got a little dimmer for Chris Rusin, Jason Berken, Justin Germano, Aaron Miles and literally thousands of others of an approximately equal talent level at throwing a baseball.
- The Cubs seem to be keen on avoiding acquiring this desperately-needed pitching depth via trade. There are some reasonably interesting names out there: Rick Porcello has been floated in a number of deals, John Ely (who inexplicably tore up the PCL last year) was acquired by the Astros for very little… Minor league mavens will undoubtedly be pleased by this stance.
- Edwin Jackson didn't like the offers he received last offseason, turning down 3 years, $27 million from the Pirates in favor of a 1 year, $11 million dollar deal from the Nationals. This type of "I'll try my luck next year" gambit almost never seems to pay off, but, wow, did it ever for Jackson. For me, the take home message is that smart baseball analysts won't hesitate to put a considerable amount of stock in a single season's worth of pitching stats. Jackson put up a career year with the Nationals, and the league believed in his numbers.
- This may be just a personal hangup, but I'm having trouble getting past the statements made by Jed Hoyer after Scott Feldman signed (via Brett):
[Feldman] did sort of have one foot in, one foot out [of the rotation]. I think he felt like he was looking over his shoulder a lot. If he made a bad start, he might not necessarily make another one or might be in the bullpen. We certainly gave him the reassurance here: ‘You’re going to be a starting pitcher. You’re going to be in the rotation.’ [That] means a lot. It’s hard to perform when you’re always constantly worried about [your] job.
In my opinion, one does not simply tell Scott Feldman: "You're going to be in the rotation" unless Feldman has previously made it clear that Des Moines is, in fact, his favorite city in the world, and, yes, he wishes he had the chance to spend some more time there. This leads me to believe that some combination of the following things is true:
- Jed has the conscience of used car salesmen.
- The prices on Villanueva and Jackson/Anibal were lower than the Cubs expected them to be at the time of the Feldman signing.
- Both of Scott Baker and Matt Garza are not doing so hot in the injury recovery department.
- Other trades are coming. (Aisley speculated that Jeff Samardzija may be being shopped last night, and a shady supposed insider reported this to be the case, but no one in the mainstream media is saying this afaik.)
- The Cubs' merry band of magical scouts really loves Scott Feldman.
I for one, will be really interested to hear whether the Cubs have given similar assurances to Villanueva.
Dmick has promised futher coverage later this evening, so don't touch that navigation toolbar!