Jackson’s signing — first reported by Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com — follows an agreement earlier Thursday with free-agent right-hander Carlos Villanueva on a two-year contract.
If the deals with Jackson and Villanueva go through, the Cubs will have seven experienced starting pitchers under control for 2012. They signed free agents Scott Baker and Scott Feldman to one-year contracts in November, adding them to a staff including holdovers Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood.
Jackson, 29, turned around his career after a 2010 trade to the White Sox. He worked on a one-year contract in Washington last year, reportedly after turning down multi-year contracts with Pittsburgh and Baltimore. It appears that gamble paid off.
Jackson pitched well over one non-impactful season for the White Sox and has continued that with the Cardinals and Nationals, essentially matching the performance of Anibal Sanchez, who signed a five-year, $80-million deal to return to Detroit after being offered five, $75 million by the Cubs.
Jackson was 26-22 with a 3.80 ERA and 1.31 WHIP in 74 regular-season starts since being traded to the White Sox at the deadline in 2010. Sanchez was 22-28 with a 3.79 ERA and 1.28 ERA in 75 starts over the same time period. He’s only six months younger than Jackson.
Villanueva has been a swing man throughout his career. He set a high in innings and starts last year, when a poor September finish spoiled a season in which he was 7-4 with a 3.10 ERA at the end of August. He finished 7-7 with a 4.16 ERA.