Milwaukee Brewers Should Aggressively Pursue Edwin Jackson
I think it's fair to say that the Milwaukee Brewers have had a disappointing offseason so far this winter.
After a ton of speculation about Josh Hamilton coming to Milwaukee, he landed in Los Angeles with the Angels. This a few weeks after another Brewer favorite, Zack Greinke, signed with the rival Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Brewers are trying to bolster their bullpen, but have missed out on most of the big names in that category too. They haven't picked up a veteran starter yet, and it doesn't look like they're going to sign Ryan Dempster with the Boston Red Sox offering him a superior contract.
Anibal Sanchez has re-upped with the Detroit Tigers, and Dan Harren is now a Washington National. Meanwhile, the Arizona Diamondbacks got a steal with Brandon McCarthy, and all of a sudden the market for solid veteran starters has pretty much dried up.
Enter Edwin Jackson.
Jackson had a solid stat line with the Nats last season. He went 10-11 in 31 starts with a 4.03 ERA and 168 strikeouts in 189.2 innings pitches, good enough for an 8.0 K/9. Over the past three seasons, his ERA has sat in the mid-to upper threes, and in those years he's played for four different teams.
Basically, he hasn't settled with any team yet. If he can find a long-term home as he enters his prime, he could potentially be an ace.
Why he hasn't been aggressively pursued by many teams this offseason is a mystery. Sure, he's not a top-of the rotation guy and he lacks consistency, but his electric fastball— topping out around 97 MPH—can carve through opposing hitters.
He also features a positively deadly slider that sits around 86-88 MPH and baffles hitters.
His problem is consistency and command. One second he'll be pitching like a Cy Young candidate, and the next he'll cough up four walks in two innings and give up eight runs.
With guys like Jackson, you have to take the good with the bad, and the good is something the Brewers should be pursuing right now.
The market for the hard-throwing righty has been pretty cold, with most teams either pursuing him as a backup plan or not at all.
The Brewers? Well, for whatever reason, they don't seem too interested in Jackson at this point. General manager Doug Melvin has made it emphatically clear, at least with older vets like Dempster, that he's not offering any more than two years to a pitcher.
But Melvin should serious consider forking over a three or four-year deal to Jackson.
Why? Because Jackson can be an ace. He's pitched everywhere, and when he's got his command working, he's as good as anyone in the game.
If the Brewers decide to pass on making an offer to Shaun Marcum (which is something else they should explore), they really, really should try going after Jackson.
With Jackson, the rotation would look something like this: Yovani Gallardo, Edwin Jackson, Marco Estrada, Mike Fiers, Wily Peralta/Mark Rogers.
A young rotation with electric arms. Jackson would provide stability to the otherwise fairly inexperienced starting corps. If they pass on Marcum and Jackson, they're going to have to rely on two farm arms and hope that Estrada and Fiers didn't have fluke years last season.
Is Jackson worth a three or four-year deal, especially with Gallardo coming up on a contract season where the Brewers need to extend him? Yes, I believe so. Pitching is a hot commodity in the National League, and the Brewers need a solid starting rotation to give their inexperienced and weak bullpen as much time off as possible.
Jackson is durable, electric and vastly underrated. He's entering his prime as a pitcher, and somehow he hasn't found a permanent home in the majors yet.
Marcum or Jackson?
Milwaukee makes as much sense as any team in the majors, and with the payroll cut that the Brewers have gone through so far this season, they have room to make one fairly big move.
Jackson should be that move.
Will it happen? I doubt it. But the Brewers shouldn't rely heavily on guys like the erratic Mark Rogers as a main option, nor should they rely on the mostly ineffective Chris Narveson.
Simply put, the Brewers need someone to back up Gallardo. If Marcum isn't offered a contract, Jackson should be. Plain and simple.
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