The Washington Nationals were able to extend their season with a walk-off win in Game 4 of the NLDS on Thursday, and will now have a chance to advance to the NLCS with a win in Game 5 Friday night against the St. Louis Cardinals.
So, starting pitcher Edwin Jackson may get a chance to redeem himself in that round after a dismal outing in Game 3 of the NLDS. He allowed four runs, all in the first two innings, over five innings along with four strikeouts and one walk as Washington lost the game 8-0. In any case, whenever his final start of the season comes, Jackson is slated to become a free agent after the World Series and quite a few teams may have interest in him.
The Minnesota Twins should be among the teams entering the free agent market in search of starting pitching this winter, and any starter that can be signed to a reasonable contract should be on their radar. Overall, the class of free agent starting pitchers looks deep and Jackson may fly under the radar a bit among the more notable names on the market.
It can be argued the Twins should have considered signing Jackson last offseason prior to him signing a one-year, $11 million deal with the Nationals, but it is unknown if there was any sort of mutual interest. He once again proved durable during the regular season this year, going 10-11 with a 4.03 ERA over 31 starts (189.2 innings). That gives him six straight seasons with at least 31 starts made as well as five consecutive seasons with at least 183 innings pitched.
For his career, Jackson has a 70-71 record with a 4.40 ERA over 234 appearances (204 starts) for seven teams. He earned the lone All-Star selection of his career in 2009 with the Detroit Tigers , when he went 13-9 with a 3.62 ERA in 33 starts while setting a career-high with 214 innings pitched.
Jackson was originally called up to the big leagues by the Los Angeles Dodgers late in 2003, but is still just 29 years old and will not turn 30 until next September. The fact he has bounced around so much is a bit concerning and it’s safe to say he has been an underachiever for much of his career, but Jackson has at least been very durable and that alone should appeal to the Twins.
Jackson is a client of notoriously aggressive agent Scott Boras, so the number of teams in the running for his services may be narrowed quickly to teams willing to make the most lucrative contract offer right off the bat. That said, he did not sign with Washington until February last offseason and if his salary demands are high (presumably guided by Boras) a similar timeframe could occur heading toward 2013. The Twins look likely to be in a position to make a significant offer if they choose to do so, but quite honestly Jackson does not look like a pitcher that will provide bang for any team’s free agent buck this winter.