Edwin Jackson fits the Cubs' strategy

Updated: December 21, 2012, 5:05 PM ET
By Keith Law

Given the current price of starting pitching in free agency, the annual salary of $11 million (excluding the $8 million he'll receive as a signing bonus) that Edwin Jackson got from the Chicago Cubs is reasonable, especially because he probably carries relatively little risk of either a significant dip in performance or of missing a significant chunk of time.

Jackson, 29, threw 183 innings in 2008 and has exceeded that total in each of the four seasons since, and has made 31 or more starts in all six seasons since he became a major league starter. He just posted the highest strikeout rate and second-lowest walk rate of his career, numbers he could pretty easily repeat, given his stuff and previous performance. He probably will never turn into the No. 1 or 2 starter that his raw stuff would indicate, but a pitcher who is worth roughly three wins above replacement every season with only minimal deviations from that number is still a valuable asset.