Grading the Edwin Jackson to the Chicago Cubs Deal

Mark MillerCorrespondent IDecember 21, 2012

Grading the Edwin Jackson to the Chicago Cubs Deal

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    With free agency continuing to ramp up with most of the top names now off the market, another starting pitcher was snatched up yesterday when Edwin Jackson agreed to a four-year, $52 million deal with the Chicago Cubs.

    The deal will no doubt improve the starting rotation of the Cubs as they ponder their future and whether or not Matt Garza will be a part of it.

    Jackson came at a fairly reasonable price compared to the other top arms that signed deals, but how does it stack up when you look at Jackson's overall track record? Let's take a look.

Durability

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    Grade: A

    At just 29 years old, it's sort of surprising to call Edwin Jackson a journeyman starter in this league, but that's exactly what he is, having played for seven teams already.

    Through all that, Jackson has stayed healthy enough to remain on the mound consistently, with at least 30 starts in six of his last seven seasons.

Body of Work

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    Grade: B-

    For all the places Jackson has appeared in his career to this point, he's been a relatively consistent performer on the mound, reaching double-digit wins in each of the last five seasons.

    He's had some control issues that he'll need to improve on, but Jackson's walk numbers have decreased in each of the past two seasons.

    On the plus side, Jackson has shown more ability to strike out batters, getting back to the nearly 9.0 K/9 innings he posted in 2010 and 2011.

Finances

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    Grade: B+

    Whenever you're talking about a team that's in rebuilding mode it can be hard to justify spending a significant sum of money on one player.

    In Chicago's case, however, the four-year, $52 million deal that Jackson signed doesn't in any way break the bank.

    Even if he doesn't end up making multiple All-Star appearances and leading the Cubs back to the postseason, Jackson should still be able to put up numbers worthy of the contract he's signed.

NL Central Track Record

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    Grade: A-

    Whenever a pitcher switches divisions, they inevitably need to make changes to the way they pitch in order to acclimate to the stadiums they pitch in and the lineups they'll face more often.

    Edwin Jackson has made 23 appearances against teams in the NL Central, and aside from his results against the Cardinals, he's performed well enough to feel good about his chances leading into 2013.

    Jackson has a combined 8-2 record with a sub-3.00 ERA against the Reds, Brewers and Pirates, and a 1-3 record against the Cardinals with an ERA approaching 4.00.

Overall

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    Grade: B+

    As mentioned, there are certainly concerns that can arise when significant dollars are handed out on a rebuilding team.

    In the case of Edwin Jackson, however, the pitcher could end up being a very valuable part of the Cubs as they look to get back to where they were.

    He's got a proven track record in the NL Central, has remained healthy throughout his career and is seeing improved control on the mound, all things that point to the potential for a solid tenure in Wrigley Field.