Some suitors (Padres) have refused to offer a four-year deal to Jackson, while others probably aren't willing to committ the $50 million-plus it will take to get him (Indians?), but the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers have both placed offers on the table.
The Cubs are the front-runner to land Jackson, and the two sides have "made strong progress on a four-year, $52 million deal," according to Buster Olney of ESPN. In Olney's own words, Jackson is "just about off the board."
Is $52 million too much for Jackson? Al Yellon of Bleed Cubbie Blue recently pondered the question:
Jackson is good. Just good, not spectacular. He's durable -- has made at least 31 starts each of the last six years. In that time he has been exactly league-average: ERA+ of 100, ERA of 4.29. He's averaged 149 strikeouts and 72 walks in 193 innings per season, on average, since 2007.
Good, not great. Durable, a decent back-of-the-rotation starter. He made $11 million in 2012 for a playoff team; presumably, he's looking for more than that.
It's no secret that the Cubs preferred Anibal Sanchez but, after the Tigers swooped in and reclaimed their starting pitcher with a last-minute offer, the Cubs presented this very competitive pitch to Jackson. Over 10 MLB seasons, Jackson has compiled a 4.40 ERA and 6.9 strikeouts per nine innings over 1,268 innings. How do you feel about Plan B, Cubs fans?