The right-hander turned free agent had hoped to parlay that performance into a full-time starters role with the team next season. However, general manager Alex Anthopoulos was concerned that Villanueva could shoulder a full starter’s workload over the course of an entire season and still be effective. With the additions of Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and R.A. Dickey to the rotation, and the need to carry Brett Cecil in the bullpen in 2013, the ability for Villanueva to return to Toronto quickly diminished.
At first, the Cubs would not seem to be the ideal location for Villanueva, who has professed the desire to be a full-time starter.The team already has Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija, and Travis Wood locked into rotation sports, and has added both Scott Baker and Scott Feldman already this winter. They were also spurned by Anibal Sanchez, after it was reported the coveted free agent was set to join the team and instead opted to rejoin the Tigers.
The signing of Villanueva may foretell other moves by the Cubs, as they may be looking to cash in on the flood of trades for starting pitching, seeking to flip Matt Garza for a bevy of prospects.