Edwin Jackson agrees to 1-year deal with Nationals
The Nationals are heading to spring training with what appears to be one of the deepest starting staffs in the major leagues.
Edwin Jackson agreed Thursday to a one-year contract with Washington, a deal that gives the Nationals seven potential starting pitchers.
''We saw an opportunity here to acquire a young, hard-throwing, power-pitching, innings-eating type of starting pitcher, and we thought it was good value at a good term,'' general manager Mike Rizzo said during a telephone conference call.
Washington said the agreement is pending a physical. The deal is worth in the range of $9 million to $12 million.
There are seven candidates for the Nationals' starting rotation, a group that includes holdovers Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, John Lannan, Chien-Ming Wang and Ross Detwiler, along with Jackson and Gio Gonzalez, acquired from Oakland in December.
But Strasburg missed most of last season following elbow-ligament surgery in September 2010, Wang returned last July after missing two years because of right shoulder surgery and is coming off a career-high 161 1-3 innings.
''We felt that we had an innings shortage,'' Rizzo said. ''Out of the eight playoff teams last year, six of those eight teams had two 200-plus inning pitchers.''
Still, Washington could trade a pitcher for a center fielder or leadoff hitter.
A 28-year-old right-hander, Jackson was 12-9 with a 3.79 ERA last season for the Chicago White Sox and World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals, who acquired him on July 27. He is 60-60 in a nine-season career that also included stints with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tampa Bay and the Chicago White Sox.
Control has been a problem throughout his career. He walked seven against Texas in a Game 4 loss at the World Series, the most in a Series outing in 14 years. His eight walks for Arizona at Tampa Bay on June 25, 2010, were one shy of the record for a no-hitter
Still, he cut free passes from a career high of 88 in 2007 to 78 in 2010 and 62 last year.
''His walks are trending in the right direction,'' Rizzo said.
Jackson had a .339 opponents batting average with no one on base and a .239 average with runners on base, an indication he was struggling out of the windup.
''We're going to make a few tweaks to his delivery,'' Rizzo said. ''Last year he was a different pitcher out of the windup than he was from the stretch.''
Scott Boras, Jackson's agent, originally was seeking a three-to-five-year deal. The Nationals got involved in talks about 10 days ago when the desired length dropped.
''It made it much more palatable to us,'' Rizzo said.
Notes: Washington defeated Lannan in baseball's first salary arbitration decision this year. The left-hander will receive the club's offer of $5 million rather than his request for $5.7 million. ... Jackson becomes yet another Boras client to join the Nationals, following Strasburg, Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth.