There is absolutely no good starting pitchers left on the free agent market. It’s true, ask anyone.
There are also 25 teams, give or take, who have a desperate desire to upgrade at least one of the spots in their rotation. Those same people you asked earlier can confirm this as well.
There are multiple teams falling over themselves to give up big trade packages to get their hands on quality starting pitching. Just ask the Reds with their shiny new Mat Latos. Feel free to query all the teams bidding to pry loose Gio Gonzalez and Matt Garza.
So I think we’ve reached a consensus now. Pretty much everyone needs pitching very badly and is willing to pay big to get it. I’m glad we had this conversation.
Let me ask you then, why in the world does NOBODY want anything to do Edwin Jackson?
And I do mean literally nobody. Just look at his page on MLB Trade Rumors. The most recent entry is a rumor about how the Marlins specifically do not want him. After that, there is a mention or two of the Twins kicking the tires on him. That’s it. Nothing else.
As Norm McDonald would say, “What the H?
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that Edwin Jackson is an overlooked ace or anything. I’m not even going to tell you that he’s as good or better than Latos, Gonzalez or Garza, but he also isn’t a bum and the Dodgers have been signing bums to multi-year, eight-digit contracts all winter long.
Jackson lacks the pedigree of a guy that is going to push a team over the top, but that doesn’t mean he can’t help. In fact, he can provide quite a bit of utility. The last three seasons, he has posted a fWAR of 3.6 or better while logging loads of innings (with one more out in 2011, he would have had three consecutive 200 IP seasons). What’s really crazy about it is that the former All-Star is only 28 years old, so he is right smack dab in the middle of his prime. I’m sorry, but I don’t know what else teams could possibly want more, especially at this point of the off-season. 28-year old, durable, consistent former All-Star middle of the rotation pitchers just don’t grow on trees.
The only theory that makes sense is that Jackson figures to be somewhat expensive and teams that have the kind of money to pay him what he wants probably aren’t all that interested in a guy who just finished a post-season in which he made four starts failing to get out of the sixth inning in three of them and finished with a playoff ERA just a hair under 5.00. A pressure pitcher he is not. Maybe that’s why big market teams like the Yankees and Red Sox have thus far shied away, although it should be pointed out that Jackson performed admirably in the large market of Chicago without melting into a puddle of tears.
Maybe this is just Jackson’s fate. Pretty much nobody has wanted him ever, even when he was pitching well. After all, this is a guy who broke into the league in 2003 and been traded five times already. Seldom has someone ever been so desired yet so expendable at the same time. It is almost as if teams trade for him as a last resort, which is probably how his free agency will play out. His vampiric agent Scott Boras has never been afraid to wait out the market and will surely do so with Edwin. Eventually, all of the hot names on the trade market will find a landing spot and a team or two in need of a quality starting pitcher will get left without a seat in this game of rotation musical chairs. Those teams will then reluctantly place a call to Boras and acquire Jackson. They won’t be happy about it at the time, but he’ll almost certainly do an adequate job for the team. That team will then completely fail to appreciate his production and trade him to some other even more desperate team.
And the cycle will begin again.
Good luck, Edwin Jackson. See you again at the trade deadline when some poor sap contender strikes out with everyone else and settles for you much like a drunk horny guy eventually gives in and takes home the chubby girl with the lazy eye because the bartender just announced last call.