Originally posted on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 8/20/12

Prior to this past offseason, five of Dave Cameron’s top ten free agents were starting pitchers. Both CC Sabathia (#3) and C.J. Wilson (#5) landed mega-contracts while Roy Oswalt (#9) decided to take the Pedro Martinez/Roger Clemens route and sign midseason. The other two guys — Hiroki Kuroda (#8) and Edwin Jackson (#10) — signed nearly identical one-year contracts. Eight months later, they share another thing in common: they’re pitching for the team with the best record in their respective league.

Kuroda, 37, landed a $10 million salary from the Yankees. At 3.3 WAR, he’s already had the third-best season of his five-year MLB career and appears poised to zoom past his career-high 4.1 WAR from 2010. Jackson, 28, signed with the Nationals for $11 million, but is having a slightly down year by his standards. He’s at 1.6 WAR and seems likely to a) fall short of the 3.6-3.8 WAR level he’s established these last three years, and b) still provide the Nationals plenty of surplus value.

Both Kuroda and Jackson have given their teams exactly the kind of short-term and affordable rotation stability they were seeking when they handed out those eight-figure guarantees. Kuroda has been a bit better thus far, but the two have similar numbers overall…

IP ERA FIP xFIP K% BB% HR/CON† Opp. OPS‡ Kuroda 167.0 2.96 3.71 3.70 18.6% 5.7% 3.4% 0.754 Jackson 144.0 3.69 4.09 3.92 20.4% 7.6% 4.4% 0.756

† HR/CON is homers per plate appearances with contact, so HR/(TBF-BB-K-HBP). That is perhaps the best way to measure a pitcher’s ability to limit the long ball. The MLB average this year is 3.8% HR/CON.

‡ Opp. OPS is the quality of the opposition, not what hitters have hit against our particular pitchers. For all intents and purposes, Kuroda and Jackson have faced hitters of equal quality this season.

Given his age and the fact that he seemed disinclined to pitch anywhere other than New York, Los Angeles, or back home in Japan, it’s obvious why Kuroda had to settle for a one-year pact this winter. Jackson, on the other hand, is right smack in the prime of his career and did in fact receive a multi-year offer, a three-year contract worth more than $30 million from the Pirates according to Ken Rosenthal. He instead opted for the one-year pillow contract, a Scott Boras specialty. Whether he increased his stock is up for debate.

Despite his relatively down year, Jackson should have no trouble landing a multi-year guarantee after the season, perhaps to remain with the Nationals. Kuroda might be able to get multiple years as well, surprisingly enough. Pitchers that age usually have to live the year-to-year life, but he’s fit in so well with the Yankees that they could look to bring him back for two more years instead of one. That’s a bit of a stretch, but it’s not completely insane. Either way, these two represent two of the very best value signings of the offseason, providing impact without busting the budget for baseball’s two best teams.

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Majority of FIFA sponsors demanding independent review on reforms

Zack Greinke expected to choose between Dodgers, Giants by end of week

Reports: David Price, Red Sox agree to seven-year, $217 million contract

LSU officials’ media leaks about Les Miles blew up in their faces

Sam Bradford returns to practice, but does it matter for broken Eagles?

Cam Newton won’t be ‘lured in’ by talk of undefeated season


Report: Miami job is Mark Richt’s 'if he wants it'

WATCH: Cowboys’ security guard being investigated for choking Panthers fan

Mariners ‘trying hard’ to trade Mark Trumbo before Wednesday’s tender deadline

Bill Belichick: Patriots always looking to improve win or lose

NFL: Refs did not blow calls on Ravens' blocked FG return

Roethlisberger: I’ll play through any injury but a brain injury

Ryan Kesler says the Ducks are 'too good not to be in the playoffs'

Tiger Woods’ career inches closer to an end after gloomy injury update

WATCH: LSU releases video to honor Leonard Fournette

Report: Jim Hackett’s tenure as Michigan’s interim AD is ending

Josh Norman pretends to be a movie character each game

Ex-Giants OL Chris Snee 'wanted to see the Jets lose all the time'

Kyle Long gives Bears tickets to trash collector who found wallet

Last of a dying breed: Kobe's retirement marks end of an era

Are the Houston Rockets looking to trade Ty Lawson?

Anonymous agent: Lakers have 'no plan and no leadership'

LeBron on never facing Kobe in Finals: 'I didn't hold up my end'

Jerry Jones expects Tony Romo to start another five years

Devon Still announces that daughter is cancer-free

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Tiger Woods’ career inches closer to an end after gloomy injury update

QUIZ: Name every NCAA football national champion since 1950

Browns lose to Ravens as only the Browns know how

NCAA figures out how to invite 5-7 teams to bowls

Ranking top Heisman Trophy candidates

Have the New Orleans Saints given up?

This weekend in NFL stupid, ft. Rex Ryan

Missouri won’t accept a bowl bid at 5-7

Durant blasts media on behalf of Kobe

Josh McCown laments how he got job back from Manziel

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker