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Yankees Inquire About Edwin Jackson


Yesterday we noted that the Yankees were busy over the weekend making inquiries on C.J. Wilson, Roy Oswalt, and Mark Buehrle. Today the buzz centers around Edwin Jackson amid reports that the Yankees have had a “preliminary discussion” with Jackson’s agent Scott Boras. Of course, the Yankees have had many “preliminary discussions” with agents so far this offseason and they are likely to have many more. Brian Cashman simply wouldn’t be doing his job if he weren’t inquiring about free agent possibilities to fill out the Yankees pitching rotation.

Like all of the pitchers available on the free agent market this year, there are strong arguments that can be made for and against giving Jackson a spot in the Yankees rotation. On the plus side, Edwin Jackson is a workhorse, albeit a traditionally inconsistent one. In the last three seasons he has averaged 210+ innings pitched with an average of 6.4 IP per start. There’s no question that the Yankees have a fantastic bullpen, so as long as a starter keeps them in the game for 6 full innings they have a great chance to win when they hand the ball to their 7th, 8th, and 9th inning guys. Jackson’s definitely no ace, but he could easily be a back-of-the-rotation guy that you could count on to eat up innings. Also, at 28 years old Jackson is just entering his prime.

On the down side, since Jackson is so young Boras will likely be looking for significant years (and of course, significant money) on any deal Jackson agrees to. Over his 9-year career Jackson is 60-60 with a 4.46 ERA, though he did put up a 3.79 ERA in 31 starts with the Cardinals and the White Sox in 2011. However, this was only the second season that Jackson has managed to post a sub-4.00 ERA (the other was 2009; 3.62 ERA) and he tends to walk a lot of batters, although that number also came down in 2011.

I’m standoffish on Jackson simply because the Yankees already have an expensive, inconsistent starter in the form of A.J. Burnett. Like Burnett, Jackson shows flashes of pure brilliance at times. But he often has trouble finding the strike zone (also like Burnett). I’m confident that Jackson will provide a plethora of innings for a team, but I’m not confident he will perform consistently. And given that the Yankees already have a number of question marks in their rotation, I don’t think they will (or should) seriously pursue Jackson.