(Worst no-hitter in MLB history?)
Last profile of the week for FA pitchers. We go back down a little lower on the age ladder to get to Edwin Jackson. He's an intriguing possibility, but one that comes with some bigger red flags than the other guys on the list.
- He's young, just 28 right now, and already has plenty of experience. After this past season, Jackson now has 5 full seasons as a starter under his belt, with 161.0+ IP in each of the 5 seasons.
- Durability. Similar to Buehrle, Jackson has been able to rack up those innings over the past 5 years by being healthy and making at least 31 starts in each of those seasons. He comes with little to no injury-related baggage.
- He's got pretty good stuff- Solid mid-90s fastball with a choice of slider, curve, or change from the offspeed menu. The slider has been his best offspeed pitch over the course of his starting career, consistently rating above average. And working with Larry Rothschild could help bring out better results from that stuff.
- Good trends. Since '07, his first season as a full-time starter, Jackson has seen his FIP decrease every year from 4.90 in '07 to just 3.55 this past season. He's also seen his WAR go from the mid 1.00s to 3.8 the past 2 seasons. Again, it's worth noting that 3.8 would have been the Yankees' 2nd best amongst their starters in 2011.
- Command. Jackson's career BB/9 is 3.36, higher than you'd like to see from a top-line starter, and he's not known for being particularly efficient with his pitches.
- Jackson's career K/9 is pretty good (6.68), but those values have fluctuated dramatically between seasons. This is likely tied to his inconsistent command, but with no clear trend in his K numbers it becomes hard to predict how Jackson's stuff would play in Yankee Stadium.
- In terms of a contact, Jackson's age will probably lead to him seeking a longer contract, 4 or 5 years, and for something around $10 mil per season. For a guy with his inconsistent track record, that's a big commitment to make. And considering the alternatives, both in-house and in the FA market, Jackson's services might not be worth that much to the Yankee brass.
In my opinion, Jackson is more a #3=#4-type starter based off his production and inconsistency. And while he is young and has bounced around a lot, possibly something that could contribute to the inconsistency, I don't think he's worth the amount of years and money it will probably take to sign him. Out of the 5 pitchers profiled this week, Jackson would be my last last resort, even after Mark Buehrle, and since we haven't heard many rumors regarding communication between his agent and Cash, it's safe to assume the Yankees feel the same way.