This is the third part in my mini-series talking about some of the available pitchers that the Pirates could acquire as the offseason winds down. We have covered Jeff Francis and Joe Saunders so far, and today we’re going to talk about Edwin Jackson.
Jackson is one of the top arms remaining on the market. Last year he split the season between the White Sox and the Cardinals. He made 31 starts and threw 199.2 innings, posting a 3.79 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9. He gave up a good amount of hits with a 1.437 WHIP but was all around a very solid starter. In 2010, again split the season between leagues, this time he made 21 starts with Arizona and 11 with Chicago. He wasn’t great in Arizona but bounced back nicely with the White Sox. For the season he had a 4.47 ERA while striking out 7.9 per nine and walking 3.4. In his nine seasons, Jackson has a 4.46 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9. He has never been an ace, but he has been a very serviceable player in his career.
Now he is a free agent, and a lot of people expected him to be signed for a pretty big price early on in the offseason. However, he is still on the market and his price tag could be dropping. The Pirates have some money left to spend and could definitely use some help in the rotation.
The Pirates signed Erik Bedard already and have two solid arms in Charlie Morton and James McDonald behind him. After that it gets slim with Jeff Karstens, Kevin Correia, and Brad Lincoln as the options. If the Pirates could sign an Edwin Jackson type, their rotation could actually be a strength.
Jackson’s agent is Scott Boras, which is never very great news for a team trying to sign such a player. The Pirates will have to compete with the rest of the league in the bidding for Jackson, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Pirates could be the team that wins his services.
As with Francis and Saunders, I really don’t expect the Pirates to go after them, but I’m not ruling it out completely.
Jackson is just 28 years old, so he could easily put together a couple more strong seasons. He has made at least 31 starts every year since 2007 (when he became a starter), so there aren’t too many injury concerns with this guy (as there are with Bedard). I think Jackson would be a very good addition to the Pirates 2012 team and could push them closer to being a division contender. The price tag won’t be small, but I think it could be reasonable enough for the Pirates to consider. They could give him a multi-year deal and he could have 2 or 3 solid years for the Pirates, which could be huge since guys like Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon are making their way up the system.