The bids for free agent pitcher Edwin Jackson have continued to rise over the past few weeks, but it appears the Chicago Cubs have made the best current offer to the 29-year-old fireballer.
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?