The Boston Red Sox have a huge hole in the middle of their starting rotation that they have been trying to address this offseason.
Edwin Jackson has been scrambling to find a team less than three weeks before spring training begins.
The two sides appear to be a perfect fit, if the money is right.
According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Red Sox are in the hunt for Jackson's services, but they are going to have to increase their current offer.
Boston, which has offered a one-year deal in the $5-$6 million range according to major league sources, is definitely in the hunt. But if they're the contending team that's going to land him, it hasn't happened yet.
If the Red Sox can sign Jackson to a one-year deal, they should do it immediately. If they have to up their offer to $10-$11 million, so be it.
According to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, unlike most Scott Boras clients, Jackson is willing to accept a one-year offer. That makes sense, because his value is down so late in the offseason, and if he has a good season in 2012 he will hit the market next winter at just 29 years old.
The Red Sox need a quality No. 4 starter they can rely on for 195 innings. Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Josh Beckett are going to anchor the rotation, but they have nothing beyond them. Daniel Bard is going to be given a chance to start, but he only has two pitches and is not likely to last with an increased workload.
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Jackson is not perfect, though his stuff makes him look a lot better than he is. He will never have good control, which could hurt him against the deeper, patient lineups in the American League East, but his mid-90s fastball and good slider give him two swing-and-miss pitches.
It would be easy to look at his power arsenal and try to plug him into the top of a rotation, but his control problems make him a great No. 3 or 4 for a playoff team.
Jackson is a far better option for the Red Sox than Roy Oswalt, who they did have interest in, although he didn't reciprocate.
Even if Jackson takes a step or two back from the 3.79 ERA and 3.8 Wins Above Replacement he had last year, he has been durable throughout his career, throwing at least 161 innings every year since 2007.
Now is the time for the Red Sox to make a move, and Jackson is the piece that they need to ensure their rotation doesn't completely break down in 2012.