Edwin Jackson’s Changing Market


(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

As the Yankees have continued their (extremely passive) pursuit of pitching this winter, we’ve wasted far too much bandwidth sorting through all different kinds of options. Joe recapped pretty much all of them yesterday, though John Danks came off the board last night by signing an extension with the maybe rebuilding, maybe going for it White Sox. Unfortunately, that contract affects one of the other pitchers the Yankees may or may not be targeting.

As some have pointed out this winter, Danks and Edwin Jackson are basically the same pitcher, or at least they’re the same pitcher in terms of performance over the last three years. Danks is 18 months younger and a fastball-cutter-changeup command lefty while Jackson is a fastball-slider power righty, which certainly changes how you’d project them going forward, at least somewhat. Point being, they’re comparable pitchers in terms of expected value, which is why the deal Danks agreed to last night will impact what Jackson gets this winter.

For one, Danks wasn’t a free agent. He was still under Chicago’s control as an arbitration-eligible player, meaning he couldn’t peddle his services to the highest bidder. Despite that, he still got a fat contract. Jackson is a true free agent with a comparable performance to Danks, so he should be able to find more on the open market as the last available pitcher with some peak years remaining. The kicker here is that both guys are represented by Scott Boras, who does absolutely everything for a reason. If we fans know that Danks and Jackson are comparable, you can be sure Boras does.

Now I know hearing five years and $65M+ for Jackson is a little wacky, just because he just come off as the type of pitcher deserving of that kind of commitment. It also doesn’t seem like there’s a team out there that would give him that much, but I refuse to bet against Boras. This is the same guy that got a team that didn’t need a seventh, eighth, or ninth inning reliever to give Rafael Soriano three years and $35M. Michael Young plays third base, is making $80M across five years, and is the face of the Rangers’ franchise? No big deal, he got them to displace Young (again) and sign Adrian Beltre for that same five year, $80M contract. Boras is the best in the business for a reason.

The Yankees appear to be in no rush to upgrade their rotation, which probably is the best way to do things. Rushing into decisions is usually bad news, as the Phillies learned when they unnecessarily gave up their first round pick to sign Jonathan Papelbon before the new Collective Bargaining Agreement had been announced. Signing Jackson for five years and too many million isn’t a smart move just because he’s the last pitcher on the market with a smidgen of upside, but that’s the road someone will end up traveling. I’d prefer to see the Yankees go short-term with Hiroki Kuroda or Roy Oswalt and let the pitching market develop as the season progresses.

Categories : Hot Stove League


  1. kenthadley says:

    Cashman is going to prove he can build a team without spending more than anyone else. He’s moaned often that he can’t win with the press, since when the Yanks have won it gets attributed to their payroll, not the GM. So this is the time when Cashman is going to play it very close to the vest for the foreseeable future. The only thing that would change it is if the team got off to a bad start. I don’t see anything beyond short term, low cost deals in the immediate future. It is a chance for the kid pitchers, but it makes for a boring winter.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Agreed. And even if they get off to a poor start at the MLB level, they’ve got 5 rotation candidates in AAA. A sustained poor start in MLB and for all 5 guys in AAA would be pretty terrible luck for a team with this much talent.

    • MannyGeee says:

      this… and by and large the market was shit. Really, Buehlre and CJ Wilson? nice pieces and all, but damn…

      • Ted Nelson says:

        What else do you expect? Two of the biggest free agent signings in recent years have been AJ Burnett and John Lackey. Two of the biggest free agent signings ever were Denny Neagle and Mike Hampton. I don’t remember this golden age of free agency that everyone else seems to.

  2. Mantle28 says:

    Both pitchers I wanted this offseason are now off the market(Darvish and Danks) and now we have to look elsewhere. Jackson has a ton of upside, is very durable but I just don’t see him working out on a long deal. I really hope we sign both of Kuroda and Oswalt at around 12M-14M a piece.

    • Kosmo says:

      From what I´ve heard Kuroda is about to sign with another team.

    • Kosmo says:

      If NY signs a FA SP or trades for one it still remains to be seen what becomes of the SP already penciled in, CC, Nova, Hughes, Garcia and AJ. NY will ultimately have to dump 1 or 2 and I would presume the last 3 mentioned. With Warren, Phelps and Noesi all deserving a shot when do you flush ? Yanks can´t keep these 3 at AAA much longer.
      If NY can unload AJ then adding Jackson makes some sense but why not Noesi ? or Phelps ? or Warren ?

  3. Juke Early says:

    First let me remind anybody I’m @#%&*! old…

    Danks = young lefty who has consistently pitched in the AL. Jackson = old(!) right-handed most recent work in NL. And I thought I hear somebody say recently last year’s stats be just that: NO PENCILING IN for 2012. Don’t want him. In fact all I want for Cripmus is some team please sign Jackson yesterday so the Yanks can’t. Rather see Hughes & Burnett step up or Noesi earn it in ST. Meanwhile the MLB “Get the moon & stars or don’t trade w/the NYY” plot continues…

    • Jim Is Bored says:

      Jackson is 18 months older than Danks.

      You have a really really narrow definition of the difference between young and old.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      I don’t particularly care if Jackson becomes a Yankees, but…

      Jackson is a year and a half older than Danks…

      Jackson has moved between the AL and NL recently and actually fared much better in the AL…

      • Behind Enemy Lines says:

        Fared much better… in small samples.

        • Jim Is Bored says:

          Last 4 years: 33 starts in the NL
          74 starts in the AL

          Neither of these are particularly large sample sizes. Making any judgment on whether he’s better in the AL or NL is silly, at this point. And where he pitched more recently is just as irrelevant.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            “And where he pitched more recently is just as irrelevant.”

            Exactly. My point is not that Jackson is better in the AL. My point was made in response to Juke Early’s argument. His two arguments against EJax were 1. he’s old and 2. he pitched in the NL. I was not saying that he’s better in the AL, I was saying that he’s pitched in the AL. Just so happens he’s also pitched better there.

            • Jim Is Bored says:

              Right, I agree with you.

              • Ted Nelson says:

                I was just clarifying after being strawmaned by BEL.

                • Behind Enemy Lines says:

                  “Jackson has moved between the AL and NL recently and actually fared much better in the AL…”

                  ” I was not saying that he’s better in the AL, I was saying that he’s pitched in the AL. Just so happens he’s also pitched better there.”

                  Just blowing your straws through the wind, eh?

                  • Ted Nelson says:

                    He has fared better in the AL. That is a fact. Indisputable fact. I merely mentioned it. I did not say anything about what that meant. Again, it was in response to Juke Early’s comment that he is somehow inferior for having pitched most recently in the NL.

        • Hold on, hold on… Are you joking? I’m not being facetious, I really just can’t tell if you’re joking. Yesterday you cited a one-inning sample.

          • Behind Enemy Lines says:

            Seriously I need to explain the difference to you between a guy who’s been a chucker his whole mL career and a guy who be been league average MLB his entire career?

            • Ted Nelson says:

              You might want to explain to yourself the difference between making up meaningless distinctions between two pitchers and actually researching their historical performances.

            • Nope, I didn’t address any of that. What I was asking you to explain was whether you were seriously saying that a one-inning sample size is fine and dandy in one case while 74 starts is too small a sample in another case, is all. But I think you’ve answered the question, thanks.

              • Behind Enemy Lines says:

                It’s not like the 74 starts have been continuous. We can’t ever just aggregate data willy nilly and pretend it’s apples to apples.

                As for Betances, I obviously hope for the best. But he’s been a certain type of pitcher his entire career. One inning obviously means little, if it didn’t reinforce what we already know about him.

                • Jim Is Bored says:

                  One inning obviously means little, if it didn’t reinforce what we already know about him.

                  That’s all. Even if it reinforces what we already “know” about him, it means little/nothing. Using evidence only when it confirms our beliefs is stupid.

                  • Behind Enemy Lines says:

                    “know” doesn’t belong in quotes when we have his whole professional career. We know quite a bit about Betances.

                    • Jim Is Bored says:

                      And yet, we have no idea what his future holds, which is what I was referring to by putting know in quotes, and I’m pretty sure you knew that but criticized a meaningless part of my comment instead of what I was saying.


                • thenamestsam says:

                  So if a datapoint fits with your prior belief you count it, but if it doesn’t you ignore it. Do you not see how that is going to lead you to biased conclusions?

                  • Behind Enemy Lines says:

                    Not really when the samples are pretty decent. For Betances that inning fit in the trend line with his overall body of work.

                    • thenamestsam says:

                      I think you’re missing the point here by thinking about it in terms of Betances. Obviously one inning pitched should have essentially no bearing on our expectations of a player when compared with the hundreds of other innings he has already thrown. But this is true 100% irregardless of whether that inning fits with your prior belief or not.
                      If he comes up and walks 4 straight batters in one inning your perception of him shifts slightly towards “He can’t throw strikes”. If he comes up and hits the mitt every time, your perception shifts slightly towards “He can throw strikes”. But you can’t possibly count one and ignore the other. That’s not an opinion. It’s a mathematical truth.

          • Jumpin' Jack Swisher says:

            I wuz there for that. :)

  4. Behind Enemy Lines says:

    Please God no. Edwin Jackson doesn’t solve the problem. Danks barely would have. And while I appreciate the analysis that says Jackson is Danks, I don’t buy it for two reasons: 1) The arms they throw with; 2) Their overall body of work.


    • Jumpin' Jack Swisher says:

      Depends on your definition of “the problem.” If the problem is that the team will go into the season with several question marks in the rotation and will never, ever be able to develop anyone that can solidify those spots in the next year or two, no one will fix that problem. If the problem is that there are several questions marks, and it’d be helpful to have another solid MLB starter on hand in order to soften the blow while the franchise sorts this out and sees if one or more of those spots can be filled internally, Jackson doesn’t fit the bill as well as Oswalt/Kuroda because the commitment would be longer, but would in the short term.

  5. Ted Nelson says:

    Considering how much more AJ Burnett and John Lackey got, I actually think Danks’ contract is quite a bargain for Chicago. He’s much younger than and just about as good as AJ or Lackey were as free agents. 27 years old having averaged 3.47 fWAR the past 3 seasons vs. 32, 3.77 and 31, 3.8.

    How is Edwin Jackson not a pitcher who could get 5 years $65 million? If AJ and Lackey are the kind of guys who can get $90 million and Gil Meche is the kind of guy who can get $40 million and Neagle is the kind of guy who can get $100 million… EJax seems in-line for $65 million. Guy has averaged 3.7 fWAR the past three seasons.

    • thenamestsam says:

      Yup, exactly. It’s not my favorite thing in the world, but if they could get him to take a 4 year deal for 52M, with a vesting option for a 5th year, I’d be pretty happy with that. It’s not a sexy signing, but the guy is still pretty young, he has improved his FIP every year for 5 straight years, and while 13M dollars is more money than most of us will see in our entire lives, it’s just not that much in the context of baseball deals at this point.

      Boras always pulls off a miracle for his clients, and I certainly wouldn’t want to be the team that he gets the miracle offer for Jackson off of, but I would make the above offer and then just refuse to take any calls from Boras until he faxes me a signed contract. He’s not a guy to get in a bidding war over, but he’s a lot better than he gets given credit for.

      • MannyGeee says:

        “Boras always pulls off a miracle for his clients”

        Johnny Damon circa 2010 would like to have a little chit-chat with you about this…

      • Behind Enemy Lines says:

        Yeah, I’d have a major problem with this outcome. For the same price, they could have had Darvish. The posting fee doesn’t count against AAV.

        • thenamestsam says:

          I’d much rather have Darvish. I loved Darvish and I think he would have been worth the money. With that said, just because something doesn’t count against AAV doesn’t mean it doesn’t count. 50+ million is a huge upfront commitment. It’s a ton of money. You can’t ignore it in the price.

    • toad says:

      But the Burnett and Lackey signings turned out badly. Seems to me that that has to affect the market price of FA pitchers.

      You can’t just say, “these guys got $xxx,” so the next guy gets it too. If $xxx turned out to be way too much then there’s no law that says the price can’t drop for the next guy.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        A lot of expensive FA pitchers turned out badly before Burnett and Lackey, but those guys still got their money… so I think you can say it. Especially because EJax is 5 years younger and has consistently been successful the past three years.

        Some free agents will work out, and some won’t. Teams know that when they sign these guys, but they still sign them every season.

  6. Gonzo says:

    I said it before. I am getting more comfortable (for good or for bad) with not going after Kuroda or Oswalt. I am getting even more comfortable with going with in-house solutions.

    Everyone can flambé me now.

    • pat says:

      Don’t blame you at all. Everyone wants to holler about the inability to develop pitchers, but the truth is that they need to take their lumps. 99% of pitchers need to be eased into the mlb transition and Yankees fans especially are reluctant to let that happen. They’re then the first to bemoan their own player development when we have to sign stopgaps.

      • Gonzo says:

        Yes, that’s how I feel. What’s wrong with breaking Nova in last year, breaking in one of Phelps/Noesi/Warren in this year, and breaking in one of ManBan/Betances/+ next year. Not saying it will work, but you could get positive results without having to pay FA prices.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Agreed. And it’s not like the Yankees are relying on one option, as you point out they have several. Some of them might fail, but it’s unlikely that all of them fail.

        • MannyGeee says:

          there’s nothing ‘wrong with it’, by and large. and the way they had to do it last season with Nova worked out well.

          but I sure wish our rotation was stronger #2-4 so that you can ease that #5 in a little more comfortably…

    • Jim Is Bored says:

      I’m on board with either plan. A 1-2 year deal for Kuroda would be fine with me, but I won’t be losing any sleep if we sign neither.

  7. Women's Lib is Ms.Guided says:

    EJax should get that deal, just not from us.

    Kuroda or Oswalt or even Colon. 1 year deals only.

  8. Bubba says:

    I recommend hiding Randy Levine somewhere until EJax signs with someone else.

    • Gonzo says:

      Randy, we got donuts in conference room #3! Yeah, they are fresh too. Better get to them before Karl does.

      *Follows him with locks and chains*

    • Jumpin' Jack Swisher says:

      “Randy, I think we found someone who could do something with that awful hair of yours. They’re in the other room.”

  9. CJ says:

    Don’t want Kuroda. Kuroda doesn’t want NYY, a mutual NO. Wouldn’t waive no trade in July. Jack Curry stops short of calling him weird, let’s say unpredictable.

    It will be easy to dismiss Edwin Jackson if he signs a large contract. However, if he signs with Minnesota or something for 3/27 I will be pissed and I will blame Cashman not Boras. It seems like other teams get bargain contracts but never the Yanks.

  10. CJ says:

    Anything more than 3/30 is too much for jackson.
    unfortunately, a good rotation for Yanks would be
    Gio Gonzalez
    Edwin Jackson
    Ivan Nova
    Phil Hughes
    It’s unfortunate that Gio costs Montero/Banuelos and Yanks have no other prospects teams like, that AJ is AJ, Edwin Jackson makes the most sense as a strong #3

    • Ted Nelson says:

      That teams like Montero and Banuelos (and Betances) doesn’t mean that the Yankees have no other prospects that they like.

      Notice that no other team has seen fit to match Oakland’s asking price on Gio?

    • Kosmo says:

      of course your proposed rotation looks great but NY can´t let the likes of Phelps, Warren and Noesi rot at AAA. More than likely NY will because of the logjam slowly beginning to develop for SP roles might be willing to trade 1 or 2 of Banuelos, Betances, Warren, Noesi and or Phelps .

    • thenamestsam says:

      Really? 3/30? When was the last time you checked on what free agents sign for these days? Cuddyer just got 3/30 and he’s been essentially replacement level 2 of the last 4 years. Heath Bell got 3/30 and he pitched a tiny amount better than Jackson last year (3.67 xFIP vs 3.73 and 3.23 FIP vs 3.55) in 1/3 of the innings. If Jackson pitched exactly the same as he has pitched in any of the last three years he’s going to have earned all that money back before you get to the all-star break of the second year. I don’t even like the guy but to say anything more than 3/30 is “too much” for him is absurd.

  11. Peter North says:

    Is it possible Kenny just extended Danks to increase his trade value? 5 years of control for $13mn per is pretty team friendly if you ask me. Maybe it isn’t his intention but knows that he at least still has the option. Maybe he’s waiting for mid-year and if the Yankee arms aren’t getting it done, Cashman will cave. Ie, opposite of what Cashman was thinking. Obviously it’s impossible to know what Kenny’s thinking but just throwing some speculation around for consumption/discussion.

    • Jumpin' Jack Swisher says:

      Anything is possible, especially if the Sox are terrible for the next couple of years, but I don’t think it was specifically done to raise his trade value.

    • MannyGeee says:

      I think its more possible that Kenny Williams left his house this morning with no pants on and a ‘Where’s the Beef’ t-shirt than the possibility that he planned that extension out as you described to get a better deal for Danks.

      And just to prove it, i bet you they trade one of Floyd/Dunn/Quentin by Jan 15th, and for absolutely nothing. because, you know… fire sale.

  12. JohnC says:

    If you can get Jackson on a reasonable 3 year deal, I’d do it. BUt this one is gonna drag on well into the Winter and Boras is content to wait out the market. He never gives in this early, always figuring that some team desperate for pitching will cave sooner or later and give his client what he wants

  13. pat says:

    What happened to that guy that wanted to trade Cano for Jackson straight up a few years ago?

  14. Jumpin' Jack Swisher says:

    I think Jackson would make sense in the same way Oswalt or Kuroda would make sense, and his age and hopefully-developing maturity would warrant an extra year. Would I go more than two years on him? That’s when my fear of the former Edwin Jackson kicks in, however rational or irrational that is.

    2/30? I guess so. Not one I’ll be screaming for them to do, though.

    I’m rested today.

  15. Reggie C. says:

    I’d seriously consider Edwin Jackson a legit middle of the order starter. The bWAR average over his last three seasons can’t be ignored. Jackson is on the right side of 30 and the man has a clean bill of health. There are performance positives for Cashman to hang his hat on, but Jackson isn’t by any means a complement to CC.

    If the bidding can be contained to something along the lines of 3/45 plus a mutual option for a 4th year at 15 million… Cashman should at least kick the tires on this one.

  16. Bronx Byte says:

    No thanks with Jackson. The Yankees have their less than .500 pitcher with Burnett already.
    Why add insult to injury ? Confidence in Hughes and Noesi is the safer way to go.

  17. Elmgrovegnome says:

    I think it is time to let Manny have the last spot in the rotation. The guys that are left don’t offer enough as Number two starters go. So if the Yankees cannot get the Number two that the need, then the should just go with their own.

  18. joek says:

    Via cot’ and mlbtr danks is not represented by boras anymore he’s a CAA client now

    • Rich in NJ says:

      You beat me to it. I typed this and then searched the page to see if anyone had mentioned it:

      I was going to post that since Danks, as one of Boras’s clients, signed an extension before reaching free agency, maybe the Yankees should contact Boras to discuss the reasonableness of one for Cano.

      But according to Baseball-Reference, Danks is now represented by CAA Sports (Jeff Berry).

  19. Jose M. Vazquez.. says:

    No comments today. Just wanted to wish everyone HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

  20. WayneD says:

    If the Yankees offer anything like 5 years and more than $65M for Edwin Jackson, Cashman should be shot for not offering 5 and $85M to Wilson.

    Wilson has performed well and won in a hitter’s haven in Texas. Jackson has never performed at that level in any locale. Signing Jackson just seems to add yet another erratic, on again, off again pitcher to our stable of pitching question marks.

    Jackson has played for 6 teams in 9 years (Dodgers, Rays, Tigers, Diamondbacks, White Sox, and Cardinals). How big a warning signing is that? Every team that has had him was sure they could unlock his potential — and they’ve all failed to do so, hence the 6 in 9 number. I can’t believe we’re even considering this guy.

    At this point, if we’re going to add a questionable pitcher (in terms of health, in this instance), I’d prefer signing Oswalt for one year, as opposed to 3 or more years of Jackson, who seems to have AJ-like potential written all over him in a long-term deal.

  21. Bubba says:

    I know the stat geeks are going to jump all over this but I could care less what his bWAR, fWAR, FIP or xFIP are.

    The two enormous red flags IMHO are how often EJax has been traded and who he is represented by.

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