Before the 2012 season, when Edwin Jackson was a free agent, a couple of us here on MCB advocated a return to the Tigers by Edwin Jackson. He had his most successful season in his career in Detroit, and by all accounts fit into the clubhouse. Despite being attached with the stigma of never quite living up to the potential he had as a prospect in the Dodgers system, Edwin Jackson has actually been a quality pitcher for the past couple of years. So why the lack of interest in a guy who is a free agent and has the numbers of a #3 starter since 2009?
Oct 12, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals pitcher Edwin Jackson (33) throws during the seventh inning against the St. Louis Cardinals of game five of the 2012 NLDS at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Especially in a year where there isn’t a lot of good starters on the market?
Now, I am not suggesting that the Tigers go after Edwin Jackson. Though there are worse ideas than that. Jackson could fit in nicely at the back end of the Tigers rotation, and is in my opinion a better pitcher than Rick Porcello. So he would be an improvement. But even if he came back to Detroit on a one year deal, I am not sure I would spend more than eight million dollars on Jackson, and I might be interested in seeing how he did as a short guy out of the pen. Obviously, it’s not in Jackson’s personal interest to make that career move, so I won’t get what I want.
But how in the heck is it that the first time I have even heard his name this off-season as a free agent signing today, when I heard Jackson attached to the Angels? This is a guy who is going to drop 200 innings, and if not 200, very close to that. He takes the ball every fifth day, and gives an honest effort. While Jackson is prone to having bad games where his command becomes erratic, he is also just as likely to shut down teams for seven or eight innings as well.
While Jackson’s ERA was just over four at 4.03 last year for the Washington Nationals, his WHIP was at a career low for a season at 1.218. He struck out eight batters an inning while walking just 2.8. He also gave up his lowest H/9 total of his career for a full season at 8.2.
These aren’t the kind of numbers that should be ignored on the free agent market, especially when pitching is at such a premium. Maybe it is just what I alluded to earlier in the article. Maybe teams see Jackson as a guy who never lived up to his potential. His numbers don’t quite match the stuff. His fastball is hard, his slider can be excellent, and the change even shows solid. Yet, he has changed teams as much as some people change pants. Well, gross people that change their pants about twice a year.
Anyway, I’m sticking up for you Edwin. You should be more of a sought over commodity this off-season. If Anibal Sanchez is going to get around 70 million, you shouldn’t be far behind.
I liked Edwin Jackson when he was here in Detroit. I wouldn’t mind if he was here again, but even if he isn’t, here is to hoping that some franchise wakes up and finally gives the young man his due.