Yesterday, the Washington Nationals added depth to their Triple-A rotation by signing Edwin Jackson to a minor league deal
After adding John Lannan on a minor league contract this spring, the Washington Nationals re-united with another pitcher from their past yesterday. Chelsea Janes from the Washington Post was the first to report that the Nats had signed right-hander Edwin Jackson to a minor league deal:
Jackson was with the Washington Nationals back in 2012 and went 10-11 with a 4.03 ERA in 31 games. He threw the third most innings of anyone on the staff (189.2 innings), but he had a 5.46 ERA in two appearances (one start) in the NLDS loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.
As always, minor league signings are low risk, high reward moves. Jackson signed with the Baltimore Orioles on April 5, but he only appeared in three games at the Major League level (7.20 ERA) and only struck out two batters.
Before this season, Jackson had played with four different teams over the prior two seasons (Cubs, Braves, Marlins, and Padres). As a starter with San Diego last year, he had a 5.89 ERA in 13 starts over 73.1 innings. Despite those struggles, he did go five innings or more in ten of those 13 outings.
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When you look at this Jackson signing, it gives the Nats an option in case a starter goes down due to injury. If you look at the Syracuse Chiefs starters this season, nobody has averaged more than five innings per outing this year (minimum six games started).
However, the question will be whether or not Jackson slides into the rotation. When he was with Triple-A Norfolk, he only started in one game out of his 12 appearances. Regardless of what role he’s in, he has to keep the walks to a minimum. With Norfolk, he had ten walks in 20.1 innings.
Outside of the Jackson news yesterday, the Washington Nationals made other pitching moves within the organization. Right-handed pitcher Jaron Long was promoted to Syracuse after a good start to his year with the Double-A Harrisburg Senators:
This isn’t Long’s first stint with the Chiefs. Last season, he appeared in nine games at Syracuse and went 2-3 with a 4.14 ERA and had 31 strikeouts in 50.1 innings. He isn’t going to strike many hitters out, but he does a good job pitching to contact. This season, he has been one of Harrisburg’s most consistent pitchers.
Entering last night, Long’s 79 innings pitched were tied for the most of any pitcher in the Eastern League. He had a 2.73 ERA in 13 starts and had given up two runs or fewer in nine of those games. On June 13 against Akron, the right-hander threw a complete game, but the Senators lost 3-0.
By adding Jackson and Long to the Chiefs pitching staff, it will give them some depth and hopefully add more innings to their team. Jackson could end up playing a role that Mat Latos did down the stretch last year and Long is one of those pitchers you shouldn’t sleep on.