The Chicago Cubs are now in year 2 of their transition with their new management team led by Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer so the focus
still seems to be more on the Cubs future as oppossed to the team they put on the field in 2013.
The only high profile free agent the Cubs signed this off-season was
Jackson has moved from team to team throughout his 10 year major league career, however over the 5 years or so there are few pitchers in the major leagues as durable and capable of giving a team a lot of innings. Finding pitchers that can throw 200+ innings each year is difficult to find so this move does appear to give the Cubs a rotation that can keep the Cubs competitive with someone like Jackson slotting in as the #3 pitcher on the staff behind Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzjia. Jackson signed a longer term deal as well so the hope is that he can part of future Cub playoff teams.
Jackson was not the only move the Cubs made to strengthen the 2013
rotation. The Cubs added 3 other pitchers that could end up seeing time
in the rotation this year adding Scott Feldman, Scott Baker and Carlos Villaneuva. Baker is coming off an injury and is not projected to be ready by Opening Day and Villanueva has spent the past few years primarily being a relief pitcher. Feldman is the one most likely to start the seaon in the Cubs rotation and considering he was not one of the high dollar free agent, he could be a great find if he can duplicate his 2009 season with the Rangers when he won 17 games.
Next to Jackson, one of the bigger offseason moves was the addition Kyuji Fujikawa. Fujikawa was a closer in Japan and could replace Carlos Marmol in this role whether by being more productive or if the Cubs trade Marmol. A rumor had him going to the Angels this offseason for Dan Haren, but the deal didn't materialize.
the Cubs were also busy in the outfield, picking up Scott Hairston from the Mets and Nate Schieroltz from the World Champion, Giants. Both players
fit the mold of hitters that Theo and Jed prefer that can draw enough walks to have a high on base percentage.
Overall, you can see that the team is focusing on building more depth and adding the players with the type of skills that management believe helps
to win games.
The Cubs are still building for the future and appear to be on the right path with young talent in the minor leagues like Javier Baez, Albert Almora, and Jorge Soler.
It also appears that a strategy is take players that haven't gotten a full opportunity to prove what they can do (Hairston, Schierholtz and Villaneuva) and if they succeed and increase their market value, you could see them traded for more young talent.