|Jackson is headed back to Chicago, this time the North Side. (Getty Images)|
The Chicago Cubs have come to an agreement on a four-year, $52-million contract with free agent starting pitcher Edwin Jackson, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The deal does not include a no-trade clause.
Jackson, 29, was 10-11 with a 4.03 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 168 strikeouts in 189 2/3 innings. He had a rough beginning to his career, but in the last five seasons has been a solid middle-rotation guy, going 59-52 with a 4.06 ERA while averaging 199 innings pitched per season.
The four-year deal has to be a relief for Jackson, who has bounced around from team to team for years. This season will be Jackson's 11th in the majors and the Cubs will be his eighth team. From 2008-12, Jackson pitched for the Rays, Tigers, Diamondbacks, White Sox, Cardinals and Nationals. Along the way, he's pitched in three of the last five postseasons.
The Cubs' direction this offseason is pretty clear. They are continuing to slowly build the franchise from the ground up, especially strengthening organizational pitching depth. At the big-league level, they are stockpiling starting pitching.
With the addition of Jackson, the Cubs now feasibly have seven big-league level starting pitchers in Jackson, Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija, Scott Feldman, Scott Baker, Travis Wood and Carlos Villanueva. Baker is recovering from Tommy John surgery, Garza is recovering from second-half arm issues and Villanueva could pitch out of the bullpen, so there's some need for depth.