Chicago Cubs: Was Signing Edwin Jackson A Necessary Move?

12/21/12 in MLB   |   This_is_Rick   |   265 respect

Had the Mayan time keepers gotten things right—leaving the world at an end today with only John Cusack to save us— some of the Chicago Cubs' recent offseason moves would not be that big of a deal. However, it did not.  And, while the world is left with an overstock of batteries, toilet paper and Pez, Theo Epstein is left to stand beside GM Jed Hoyer as they access their most-recent pitching purchase.
Jun 16, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein prior to a game against the Boston Red Sox at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Without question, the Cubs needed help in the rotation. The staff was terrible in 2012, finishing the season ranked 14th in ERA (4.51) and 16th, dead last, in innings pitched (1413.2). They had to do something, so it makes perfect sense to rebuild the rotation by adding arms via the free agent market. 
Unfortunately, besides Zack Greinke and (maybe) Anibal Sanchez, the free agent list for pitchers is not that deep—not deep enough to spend big multi-year deals on pitchers with up-and-down results.  
But the Cubs, following most teams in a panic-mode to add whatever, whenever, have given a valiant effort making offers (which were all overlooked) to the top- to second- to third-tier pitchers on the market.
And they have actually done a fine job, landing Scott Feldman, a big lefty with decent stuff, from Texas; Scott Baker, a righty with good control, from Minnesota; and Carlos Villanueva, a spot-start, reliever, from Toronto.
All of the additions, at the low cost of around $17 million next season, should fit nicely in the rotation with Jeff Samardzija, Matt Garza and Travis Wood.
Over and done with, right? Not really, although you would think. 

I imagine most Cubs' fans would have assumed the next monies spent should have been towards adding a bat to improve the second-worst average in the NL from 2012. However, the organization wanted more arms.
After the Cubs lost lout on Anibal Sanchez, who stuck with the Detroit Tigers, they decided signing Edwin Jackson to anchor the rotation—they basically already had anchored—was a better move.
Oct 10, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Edwin Jackson (33) throws in the first inning of game three of the 2012 NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
Sure, for the sake of competition in the spring—which I understand—adding Jackson will help. And, he is a talent that has not reached a season of full potential, although he consistently gives a team a lot of innings pitched.

That's all true.
Yet, there is also a resemblance to an episode of Wheel of Fortune: If you can't solve the puzzle, and time is running out, just say something and hope it works.
Tell 'em what they won, Theo! 
Well, it's a 29-year-old hurler, signed a four-year $52 million contract, that has a career 4.40 ERA and a winning percentage of under .500...and ZERO offense. 
Perhaps the Mayans meant Opening Day 2013, Chicago?
There's always hope.
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