Edwin Jackson had the opposite effect of Ross Detwiler after his final start. It made everybody want him to become a free agent and start fresh. However, let’s remember why Jackson was brought in. Late in the offseason, he was signed to a one-year deal to add an experienced starting pitcher to the fold for the Nationals who were the darkhorse team expected to contend in the National League East. He was supposed to be a guy to eat innings and bring a veteran presence and re-establish his value after one year.
Jackson didn’t pitch badly, but he didn’t make enough of an impression to get a qualifying offer from the Nationals and has become a free agent and will not bring back compensation for the Nationals should he sign elsewhere.
2012 Prediction (ZiPS): 11-9, 3.79 ERA, 30 starts, 199.2 IP, 58/151 BB/K
2012 Actual: 10-11, 4.03 ERA, 31 starts, 189.2 IP, 58/168 BB/K
Jackson didn’t really perform that badly, but the thing is is that he was just average. Now, Jackson didn’t come with huge expectations. He was supposed to slide in to the bottom of the rotation. The problem was, when Stephen Strasburg was sat out of the playoffs, that made Jackson the No. 3 starter instead of the No. 4. Jackson was not a No. 3 pitcher this season. Will he make money this offseason as a free agent? That was his gamble by taking a one year deal last year and in a weak market, he will probably get his big pay day. But for the Nationals, Jackson’s salary and role just don’t mesh long term. The team now knows what they have in Ross Detwiler and I think the Nationals will look for guys to fill out depth more than making a splash in the pitching rotation.
Season Highlight: Jackson’s best game as a National was in his second start of the season April 14 against Cincinnati. Jackson pitched a complete game allowing just two hits, one earned run, 1 BB, 9 K and a HBP. When your highlight comes that early, it isn’t really a good sign. Jackson never got to that level again. He had a couple of other games with double-digit strike outs and did win 10 games so he didn’t pitch that badly, but had two starts where he allowed eight earned runs, so with the really good came the really bad.
Chien Ming Wang