Washington Nationals: Should the Nats Re-Sign Edwin Jackson or Part Ways?

Robert Wood@@bleachRWreachrCorrespondent INovember 15, 2012

Oct 8, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Edwin Jackson (33) looks on during game two of the 2012 NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals won 12-4. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE

In 2011, the Washington Nationals signed Edwin Jackson to a one-year deal worth $11 million. 

After making 31 regular-season starts and one playoff start for the Nationals in 2012, Jackson is once again a free agent. 

So, should the Washington Nationals re-sign Edwin Jackson or part ways? 

Well, Edwin Jackson definitely wants to re-sign with the team, as he told Amanda Comak of The Washington Times on October 12:

If we can work something out and I have a chance to come back with these guys again, I'd definitely be happy about it. But, as far as right now, we'll deal with that when that time comes...Going into free agency you're not really sure of their plans. They have great pitchers here. If I wasn't here, they have five guys that they could run out and still feel comfortable with -- dudes who are good pitchers. But as the offseason transpires, we'll definitely see what happens.

From the team's perspective, however, it is indeed time for the Nationals to part ways with the 10-year veteran. 

Edwin Jackson was brought to the Washington Nationals to excel in September and October. For the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011, he pitched five games in September and went 1-0 with a 3.58 ERA. During the postseason, Edwin was 1-1 in four starts with a 5.60 ERA and 12 strikeouts. 

With the Washington Nationals, those clutch performances were not duplicated consistently enough.  In September of 2012, Jackson went 1-2 with a 7.92 ERA, recording only one quality start out of the five games he pitched. He redeemed himself in his one October start, striking out six batters and surrendering only six hits and one earned run over 6.2 innings. 


But when his performance mattered most—in the postseason—Edwin Jackson came up short.  In Game 3 of the NLDS versus the St. Louis Cardinals, Jackson gave up eight hits and four runs over five innings as the Cardinals crushed the Nats 8-0, pushing them to the brink. To Jackson's credit, he had to rally just to last as long as he did, as the Cardinals were already up 4-0 after two innings. 

In Game 5, Jackson had a chance to atone for his mistakes, but he just was not sharp enough. He walked two and gave up one earned run in only one inning of work as the Cardinals eventually completed an epic six-run comeback to win the NLDS.  A shutout inning by Jackson and the Nats might have advanced them to the NLCS. 

Seemingly disappointed with Jackson's poor pitching under pressure, the Nationals have shown interest in moving on. The team did not offer Jackson a qualifying offer, as reported by Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post. Kilgore explains that with Jackson all but out of the picture, the Nats already have plans to replace him:

Without Jackson in the fold, the Nationals will likely turn to the free agent market to fill out their rotation. They would like to add a veteran to match with their four young starters. Kyle Lohse and Ryan Dempster both fit that mold, but both may demand a longer-term deal than the Nationals are willing to give. 

Edwin Jackson did not duplicate his 2011 postseason in 2012, so the Washington Nationals will look elsewhere in 2013.