Washington Nationals: Should the Nationals Extend Edwin Jackson Midseason?

Benjamin KleinContributor IIIJune 1, 2012

MIAMI, FL - MAY 29:  Edwin Jackson #33 of the Washington Nationals pitches during a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on May 29, 2012 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Washington Nationals have done what a lot of people expected them to do this season: compete. Entering June, the Nationals sit in first place in the National League East by a mere half game but have played outstanding this season despite several key injuries.

Not to discredit the offense, but the starting pitching for Washington through two months has been remarkable. They lead all starting rotations in WAR (via FanGraphs) and it's not even close. They also have the lowest ERA and FIP, the second best xFIP and the highest K/9.

During this latest offseason, the Nationals two impact moves to bolster their starting rotation; trading for former Athletics starter Gio Gonzalez and signing free agent Edwin Jackson.

Gonzalez has been a Cy Young favorite and Jackson has pitched well despite a poor win-loss record.

Washington has Gonzalez under contract at least until 2017 but Jackson will again enter free agency after this season's close should the Nationals not extend him.

Jackson is currently having what could be considered as his best year in the majors. Looking at his performances over the last few season, this season is looking rather promising in most areas.

2008 14-11 183.1 5.30 3.78 4.42 4.88 1.3
2009 13-9 214.0 6.77 2.94 3.62 4.28 3.6
2010 10-12 209.1 7.78 3.35 4.47 3.86 3.8
2011 12-9 199.2 6.67 2.79 3.79 3.55 3.8
2012 1-3 65.1 7.30 2.07 3.17 3.33 1.3

It's no secret that Washington has a lot of young talent and their best year's are ahead of them. Does it make sense for them to keep their succeeding starting rotation intact?

Having Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson as your top three starters is something that not many teams have and they should take advantage of it.

Signing Jackson to a short—two or three years—contract extension, should come cheaper midseason that at the end of the year when the Nationals could be getting fitted for their National League Champion or even World Series rings.

Washington signed Jackson to a one-year, $11 million dollar deal in February and could probably lock him up for around the same amount each season going forward.

So what should Washington do?