Originally written November 07, 2012 on isportsweb.com:
Can we all just get off of Edwin Jackson’s back already? The free agent pitcher, who most recently worked at the back end of the Washington Nationals’ rotation in 2012 is likely to sign with his 8th different team this offseason since breaking in with the Dodgers back in 2003. Since when does a guy who can put up 30+ starts (he’s done that each of his past 6 seasons), 180+ innings (done each of his past 5 seasons), and sub 4.00 ERA (3 of his last 5) need to keep being ridiculed about not being an ace? Is it time to write off Edwin Jackson? Ahhh the burden of carrying a mid-90’s fastball and a sharp slider. If you look the part then you must act the part, or else you’re subject to a life full of 1-year contracts? Unfair. The over/under on Jackson’s free agent deal this offseason seems to be a 3-year deal. That would be the most certainty he’s ever been guaranteed by a team. At 29, that’s all he can apparently get. MLB Network analysts Harold Reynolds and Billy Ripken both took the under on Jackson getting 3 years. ESPN’s Jim Bowden projected a 3-year, $30M deal for E-Jax. Bowden believes the Blue Jays, Royals, and Indians will be Jackson’s hottest suitors. Jackson only recently turned 29, seems to have lost very little on his fastball, and has avoided the injury bug throughout his career. Why is a guy like this, just entering his prime, by and large getting shunned? Fastball command is the most common answer. His lifetime WHIP of 1.44 certainly doesn’t impress anyone. He tends to work up in the strike zone and not on the corners. This pattern leads to far too many hits allowed and the correspondingly bloated ERA and WHIP numbers. Part of me wonders though, with a guy like Edwin, if maybe he just needs someone to show him a little love. To know that you can set up more than a month-to-month lease on an area apartment has to be good for the soul. And what’s good for the soul will most likely translate to the mound. All of the teams that Bowden mentions as potential suitors seem like ideal fits for Jackson. Each needs an innings-eater. And what’s better than having a guy chew up 180+ innings with a lot of skill and some upside left to be had? Edwin, quite honestly, would instantly become one of the top 2 pitchers on all three of these teams. Let’s not write this guy off quite yet. There is still time for him to transform into a truly reliable pitcher. There may yet be more than meets the eye.
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