Thursday, December 20, 2012

Edwin Jackson, Illusionist

I won't say something as dramatic as "I nearly drove off the road..." but I was stunned when I heard on ESPN radio or WFAN that Edwin Jackson was close to an agreement with the Chicago Cubs on a four year contract that would pay him $52MM. Even now I feel like shouting "WHAT?"

Jackson is the epitome of mediocrity; a guy who every now and then catches lightning in a bottle, but for the most part produces a middling performance. Despite that he has seen his yearly salary go from $2.2MM in 2009 to $4.6 a year later to $8.75 in 2011 to $11MM last season.

The $11MM was a one year deal he signed with the Washington Nationals based on his 2011 season that was slightly better than average. Jackson started the 2011 season with the Chicago White Sox, the fifth of seven teams he has played for in his 10 years in the Major Leagues. He had a 2.2 WAR with Chicago, but a WHIP over 1.4 an ERA of nearly 4, which would have been good in years past, but not in the "The Year of the Pitcher" season.

He was dealt to the Cardinals at the '11 trade deadline and finished with a 3.58 ERA in 12 starts and a relief appearance. His WAR was only 0.6 and has been the case throughout his career, Jackson struggled with his control. The right-hander's career strike out to walk ratio is just 1.95. (He's surpassed 3.0 just once in his career.)

Jackson has gotten better with age - he's still just 29 - but his past performance is not worth a four year deal or worth $13MM per season.

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