By Matt Snyder
Edwin Jackson is entering his 10th major-league season, and he'll do so with his seventh team. He is an agreement with the Washington Nationals on a one-year contract, the team announced Thursday. The deal, which was first reported by CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman, is pending a physical and Heyman reports it's believed to be between $8 million and $12 million.
"We saw an opportunity here to acquire a young, hard-throwing, power-pitching, innings-eating type of starting pitcher, and we thought it was good value at a good term," general manager Mike Rizzo said during a telephone conference call.
Jackson, 28, went 12-9 with a 3.79 ERA, 1.44 WHIP and 148 strikeouts in 199 2/3 innings last season for the White Sox and Cardinals. He was dealt to St. Louis in late July and ended up winning a World Series ring with St. Louis. Also, while control was an issue early in Jackson's career, his walk rate was a career-low 2.8 per nine innings in 2011.
"His walks are trending in the right direction," Rizzo said.
Jackson had a .339 opponents' batting average with the bases empty and a .239 average with runners on last season, but the Nationals think they can work with the issue.
"We're going to make a few tweaks to his delivery," Rizzo said. "Last year he was a different pitcher out of the windup than he was from the stretch."
Note that Strasburg is on an innings limit and the Nats can't be sure if Wang will hold up all season, so it wouldn't hurt to have extra starting pitching. If they did deal Lannan, they could still turn to Ross Detwiler, Craig Stammen or Tom Gorzelanny in a pinch. But for now, it's all about adding Jackson.
Jackson has been unable to find a permanent home in his career, but he's always been a productive pitcher. He doesn't profile as a frontline starter, but Washington doesn't need him to be one. He has great experience for his age, with over 1,000 regular-season innings pitched and seven postseason appearances, including four starts. Also good for Jackson is that Nationals Park profiles as a slight pitchers' park.
Jackson had been asking for a three- to five-year contract, but when the market dried up, agent Scott Boras and Jackson looked for a one-year deal so they could hit the market again next season. Washington bit.
"It made it much more palatable to us," Rizzo said.
The Nationals are coming off an 80-81 season in which they finished third place in the NL East for the first time since moving to Washington. With a full season of Strasburg and the additions of Gonzalez and Jackson, they appear eager to compete in a loaded division.
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