Edwin Jackson a Possibility for the Pirates?

Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors looked at Edwin Jackson’s upcoming free agency, following his poor start in the World Series last night.  Dierkes speculated that the Yankees and Red Sox won’t be suitors for Jackson in the off-season, and listed the Pittsburgh Pirates as one of the teams that could be matches for Jackson.

MLB Trade Rumors says that the Pirates are a match for Edwin Jackson.

Dierkes noted Jackson’s inconsistent play over the last few years, and how he’s moved around so much (he’s played for five teams in the last four years).  Jackson had a breakout year in 2009, with a 3.62 ERA in 214 innings, along with a 6.8 K/9, a 2.9 BB/9, and a 1.1 HR/9.  He went to Arizona the following year in the three team trade that sent Curtis Granderson to the New York Yankees.  While in Arizona, Jackson struggled with a 5.16 ERA in 134.1 innings.  He was later traded to the Chicago White Sox, where he turned things around with a 3.24 ERA in 75 innings, along with a 9.2 K/9, a 2.2 BB/9, and a 1.0 HR/9.

This year Jackson started off in Chicago, with a 3.92 ERA in 121.2 innings, and good ratios, posting a 7.2 K/9, a 2.9 BB/9, and a 0.6 HR/9.  He was traded to St. Louis in another three team deal that sent Colby Rasmus to Toronto.  With the Cardinals, he put up a 3.58 ERA in 78 innings, with a 5.9 K/9, a 2.7 BB/9, and a 0.9 HR/9.  Outside of his time with Arizona, Jackson’s numbers the last three years have been fairly consistent, with a walk rate around a 3.0 BB/9, a home run rate around 1.0 HR/9, and a strikeout rate around a 7.0 K/9.

I looked at the free agent starting pitchers last week, and noted Jackson as a guy who would be an upgrade over Paul Maholm.  However, I didn’t see the Pirates as contenders for his service, since there will likely be plenty of options to choose from, with some options having more money to spend, and some options having a more desirable team to play for in the short term.  Dierkes mentioned that Scott Boras – Jackson’s agent – would likely be seeking a long term deal, with around four years, due to Jackson’s age of 28.  I think the only chance the Pirates would have is offering more years than anyone else.  That might be a risk, as any long term deal with a pitcher could be due to injuries or inconsistent performances.  That said, I’ve seen a lot of people suggesting a three year deal for Paul Maholm, who is two years older than Jackson.  I can’t imagine a four year deal to Jackson would be opposed by the people who want Maholm back on a multi-year deal. Whether the Pirates would be willing to give Jackson that long of a deal is another story.

Overall it seems like Jackson is a bit under-valued.  In the last three years he has put up a combined 7.1 K/9, a 3.0 BB/9, and a 0.9 HR/9.  He has a 4.03 xFIP in that time span.  He’s not an ace, but he’s a solid pitcher, and his young age would give him a better chance of maintaining his success going forward, compared to someone like Joel Pineiro or Chris Capuano, who have similar xFIPs over the last three years.

Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6EETLMCYZ754U2G7TFYJMCFPGU HankS

    He seems to pitch good while he is in the AL..Does that stat have any weight to it??

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OGCKUSO5MA5VUCJHW2YSJ2K3TM Bob

    ” inconsistent play over the last few years”

    I think we have enough players that fit this bill already, can’t we get someone good?

    • ed_cummings

      Jackson has posted WARs of 3.6, 3.8, 3.8 the last 3 years.  The Pirates have had a  pitcher post a WAR that high once in the last decade (Ian Snell 2003).  It is equal to the combined WARs posted by Maholm, Karstens, McDonald, and Lincoln last year.  Like Tim said, he’s not an ace, but he is someone good.

  • Anonymous

    Jackson has a good arm, but I don’t trust many pitchers when it comes to 4 year contracts, If I am the Pirates I might overpay and go 2 years, if that does not work, move on, in two years the Pirates should be looking at some pretty good arms from the minors.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Vince-Riedy/100002800992567 Vince Riedy

      Two years would not be an overpay, in fact it would be an underpay. Jackson is more than likely to sign for three years with four being a strong possibility.

  • Brian Bernard

    I see Jackson and McDonald as similar pitchers – wild at times, 96 mph fastballs, capable of being very good to average on any given day. I wouldn’t mind Jackson on the roster, another good arm that gives us time for the young guys to earn their stripes in the minors. I’d say a three or four year deal would work just right but at what price?
    If were talking apples to Maholm’s is this a $10 mil / yr pitcher? Say $40 mil / 4 yr… I don’t know but I’ll say this much – I’d rather see Jackson get it than Maholm.