Jackson beginning to feel a lot like Soriano

Thinking Out Loud: Ryan Madson
Forced Comps: Montero, Banuelos, Betances

It sure is quiet. Yes, a little too quiet, if you know what I mean. For most of this winter there has been little, if any, talk about MLB Trade Rumors’ No. 6 free agent, Edwin Jackson. In fact, the first page of his MLBTR archives takes us all the way back to early December, an oddity for such a highly rated free agent. Normally there is some level of buzz surrounding this type of player, even if he’s not close to signing. Yet with Jackson we’ve seen scant few mentions. Most of them have been 1) noting that he’s still on the free agent market, 2) mentioning teams not interested in him, or 3) mentioning unlikely destinations, such as Baltimore and Minnesota. Yet activity has picked up lately.

One year ago, another top free agent went through similar motions. Just take a look at this page from Rafael Soriano’s MLBTR archive. As with all MLBTR archive pages, it spans 10 posts. The dates on those posts: December 6th through January 1st. Edwin Jackson’s page goes from December 5th to January 2nd. While the nature of the pages is slightly different, the stories are developing similarly. Soriano went from having some interest — from the White Sox and the Angels, mostly — to radio silence for a bit. At the beginning of January his name started coming up as a Yankees target, and later that month the two parties came to terms. Would it surprise anyone, then, if the Yankees ended up with Jackson?

Remember, earlier last off-season the Yankees reportedly had no interest in Soriano. In fact, in late November Joel Sherman said: “Soriano is not an option to come in on a closer’s salary and serve as the set-up man to Rivera now and the closer-in-waiting for when Rivera eventually retires. The Yankees do not want to invest that kind of money in a set-up man and Soriano is determined to close now.” That all changed, of course, after the Yankees failed to sign Cliff Lee and Soriano never got that big offer to close games. With Jackson, though, there needn’t be a change of heart. The Yankees have already expressed interest in him, with the hopes that his price tag falls to what they consider an acceptable level.

Yet even after the failed Lee pursuit, reports still indicated that the Yankees weren’t interested in Soriano. Sherman, Fox’s Ken Rosenthal, and ESPN’s Buster Olney all stated, at some point or another, indicated as such. (See previous link to Soriano’s MLBTR archive.) Yet one voice persistently connected the Yankees and Soriano. Jon Heyman, then with SI and now with CBS, continued insisting that the Yankees were monitoring the situation, even when everyone else reported otherwise. He was right then, and it appears he’s back on the job. Just yesterday he sang Jackson’s praises while connecting him to the Yankees. Could this portend another mid-January signing?

Scott Boras obviously knows what he’s doing. He’s held onto two valuable chips, Jackson and Prince Fielder, while a number of trade candidates and free agents have come off the board. Only Matt Garza remains as a well-known and viable trade candidate. Boras could easily hold back Jackson until the Cubs move Garza, creating a powerful situation. Any team that wants a lineup or rotation upgrade must then go to him. That could jack up the asking price for both Fielder and Jackson.

At an even higher price point — say, four years and $57 million, mirroring the last four years of the John Danks deal — would the Yankees be interested? After all, all we’ve heard this winter is that they’re looking to reign in their spending. Yet that might not be the concrete plan. Team president Randy Levine might have merely been making a calming statement to fans when he spoke to the New York Post last week, but his words do stand out. “There’s obviously room to improve the team. I don’t like to get into the amounts, but obviously there’s room to improve the team.”

Last winter, Heyman obviously had the inside track on the Soriano signing. He was the only one pointing in that direction, and he ultimately broke the news. This might have been through a connection with Boras, but it also might have been through connections to the non-baseball operations side of the front office. If Heyman does have and use that connection, perhaps he does have an inside track on the team’s feelings for Jackson.

Signing Jackson would be far from the worst thing for the 2012 Yankees. He’d probably step behind CC Sabathia as the team’s second best starter, pushing everyone else down the ladder. He’d create a bit more depth, since his presence would push one of the bottom two out of the rotation — perhaps in a trade, which could add more depth. The only downside is that adding Jackson will render the goal of a $189 million payroll by 2014 more difficult. But, really, that’s of little concern. That’s something for the Yankees to figure out, and if they sign Jackson it signals that they either have a solid plan in place, or otherwise don’t care that deeply about the limit.

It’s a bit much, at this point, to say that the parallels between Soriano and Jackson mean that the Yankees will sign him later this month. But it’s also hard to see the two situations and rule out the Yankees completely. They might be playing coy for now, but it would come as no surprise if the Yankees eventually emerged as frontrunners for Jackson’s services.

Thinking Out Loud: Ryan Madson
Forced Comps: Montero, Banuelos, Betances
  • Gonzo

    If Jackson is on board, would that impede them in making a run at someone next year?

    *Who knows for sure who makes it to FA.

    • FIPster Doofus

      I have the same concern. If Hamels hits the market next winter and the Yankees don’t have budgetary room for him because they signed Jackson this winter, that would be disastrous. Otherwise I’d be on board with Jackson.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        I’m not sure if I’d call it disastrous, but it would aggravate the shit out of me.

      • thenamestsam

        I love Cole Hamels and I would be ecstatic to see him in a Yankees uniform, but I think it’s worth mentioning that Hamels a total of 3 months younger than Jackson, meaning that when you sign him he’ll be 9 months older than Jackson would be.

        Hamels average fWAR over the last 3 years: 4.1
        Jackson average fWAR over the last 3 years: 3.7

        Say you can get Jackson for 4 years, 60 mil. I’d guess Hamels gets 6 years, 120M at least. Like I said I love Hamels, and it’s not my money, so I’d always rather see them pursue the better player over the more cost efficient player, but at those prices I think Jackson is the better buy, and I can’t see the difference between them being enough to call it disastrous.

        • FIPster Doofus

          I see your point, but bWAR has Jackson at 11.5 since 2007 and Hamels at 20.6 during the same time frame. I’d say that’s a better indication of the gap between the two than what fWAR says.

          • CP

            The bigger difference is the endpoints, and not the system for WAR you choose:

            Hamels average bWAR over the last 3 years: 4.0
            Jackson average fWAR over the last 3 years: 3.1

            Hamels is a better pitcher (but he’ll be a year older), but is he enough better to justify how much more he’ll likely get than Jackson? I’m not sure.

            • thenamestsam

              Right. bWAR helps Hamels a bit in the comparison, but the difference is still fairly small as long as you use the last 3 years. I chose 3 years because that is the amount of past data that thee simplest forecasting systems use(Marcel for example). Jackson was terrible pre-2009, but for the past three years he has been consistent and consistent at a level that is like 80% of Hamels. I think the difference between them is a lot smaller than it is perceived to be.

              • Lost Sailor

                war this or war that, consider that Hamels has compiled his numbers on a far superior ballclub than Jackson has ever had the luxury of playing with…

  • Peter R

    I would really rather Garza

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      Only if they were both FA.

      The cost in prospects for Garza is not worth the marginal upgrade, IMO.

      • Peter R

        If you check out Fangraphs today they have a nice article about how much it would cost for Garza based on what he has done and has remaining. Something like Austin Romine/Nunez+ trash should do it.

        Now since the Cubs have all the leverage here, not likely to be the real cost they ask for, but much more….

        • Cris Pengiucci

          If the Cubbies accepted something near that, I’d drive the prospects there myself! (Actually just got back from there and passed right by Wrigley a couple of times. And since my daughter is heading back to college in the Bronx in a couple of weeks, maybe I could plan a road trip!)

        • thenamestsam

          I think you’re either misreading that article or drmatically overrating the Yankees prospects. He said a hitting prospect in the #11-#25 range or two bottom of the top 100 kind of guys. That’s basically Montero or something like Betances, any other non-Banuelos prospect of their choice and a filler.

          • Need Pitching

            Montero would be excessive, but I agree that Romine or Nunez wouldn’t qualify in the 11-25 range. I’m not sure Romine would even be still considered a top 100 prospect.

            • thenamestsam

              I think Montero will probably be in the 11-25 range on some lists when they’re all out there. I know we all love the guy and his September really reinforced everyones feelings about him, but he’s still just a prospect, and not even one that every single person without exception is high on (like Harper or Moore).

    • Slugger27

      in a vacuum, yeah probably. but garza will cost top prospects AND money. ejax just cost money and the 30th or whatever pick. id rather have ejax for $$ than garza for 2 of manban/betances/jesus

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        No draft pick for Jackson, he’s a Type-B.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      Garza is one of the few I’d agree to trading a top prospect for. Yeah, I generally agree, depending on the prospect(s) needed.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      I would rather Dougie.

  • Sal

    I got this feeling that Jackson is the Yankees top target right now.

  • craig

    If they are considering adding $ to the payroll, then why not go for Oswalt or Kuroda? They will cost less $ per year and only require a 1 year contract.

    If there is talk about Jackson publicly, perhaps it is to get Oswalt and/or Kroda to come down on price.

    • Rainbow Connection

      This. Hopefully.

  • Jose M. Vazquez..

    Jackson has a great fastball still and has improved his control in the past 2-3 years, but I am still curious as to why everyone keeps trading him away.

  • Hugh

    Is he really a significant enough upgrade over what we have to justify that degree of outlay?

    • Mister Delaware

      I think he’s in the middle of that. He’s a significant upgrade over what we currently have but not enough to justify his presumed cost.

    • jsbrendog

      edwin jackson similar pitchers:
      1.Bruce Chen (967)
      2.Rich Gale (966)
      3.Kris Benson (963)
      4.Randy Lerch (962)
      5.Gavin Floyd (962)
      6.Roy Parmelee (956)
      7.Scott Kamieniecki (955)
      8.Art Mahaffey (954)
      9.Chris Capuano (953)
      10.Tony Armas (952)

      similar pitchers by age 27:
      1.Livan Hernandez (972)
      2.Len Barker (967)
      3.Joel Pineiro (965)
      4.Jason Jennings (959)
      5.Jaime Navarro (958)
      6.Jeff Weaver (956)
      7.Kevin Gross (956)
      8.Mike Moore (954)
      9.Brett Myers (953)
      10.Jason Marquis (950)


      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joe Pawlikowski

        C’mon, dude. I know you’re better than this.

        • jsbrendog

          dude had 95 era + and 1.8 bwar in 10 and 106 era+ and 2.3 (or 3.1?) bwar in 11. and you want to pay him double what he is worth almost for 4-5 yrs? how is he a #2? there’s a reason no one ever wants to keep him on their team and he isn’t signed yet and I don’t think it is Boras

  • Sal

    I watched him shut down the Yanks a few years ago when he was with the Rays. He has alot in common with AJ Burnett. Great stuff but never consistent.

  • TheOneWhoKnocks

    Not really responding to this article at all, but an attitude in general that makes Heyman out to be a joke. The bloggers (RAB included) love to make fun of heyman and call him out almost daily, but the guy is obviously very well connected. You don’t have to appreciate his analysis, and his Boras brown nosing is obvious, but as a source the guy is legit. He gets some serious scoops and when you arecasting doubt on him as if he’s always just self serving, it just looks bad on you.

    • Guns of Navarone

      He’s a Scott Boras mouthpiece and does nothing more than spread his propaganda. I think it’s fairly obvious that the two of them have an agreement worked out. Other than that, his sources or scoops don’t seem any better or worse than any other writer.

      Why on earth is he taking time out of his day to compare Jackson with Cain and Felix? No other writer is doing that. The market for Jackson is slow at best, and Boras and Co. know how to drive up interest.

      • Guns of Navarone

        I have little respect for a journalist, who is paid to be as unbiased as possible, showing preference towards a certain figure or certain group of athletes because of their representation, especially in return for “inside information” pertaining to those same individuals.

        But that’s just my opinion based on what I’ve seen. He may have no connection to Boras whatsoever.

        • toad

          Look up the term “beat-sweetener” sometime.

      • jsbrendog

        seriously, esp when the guy (jackson) isnt even in the same league as king felix or cain let alone the same dugout.

        • Rainbow Connection

          Do you think the Yankees decision-makers are going to suddenly agree that EJ is in the same league as Felix or Cain? Why the fear?

          • jsbrendog

            please read the comment i was responding to and then it will prob make mroe sense to you. this is a discussion re heyman and not ejax

    • Rainbow Connection

      I agree. If he’s such a joke and so corrupt, just ignore him.
      That’s the same thing RAB guys say when people complain about them:
      ‘Don’t read it if you hate us so much’.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joe Pawlikowski

      When he gets called out it’s mostly for his asinine opinions. No one will deny the man’s reporting record. No one who pays attention, at least.

  • Bklyn

    Let’s not delude ourselves in to thinking the Yankees are going to make a run at Jackson.

  • Guns of Navarone

    If the Yankees sign Jackson, my confidence in the Yankees organization will take a major, major hit. Soriano was one thing, but signing Jackson would signal a major conflict in the front office, in my opinion. To make this kind of signing after all the reports of reducing payroll and a conscious effort to not overpay for anything other than elite talent would be distressing. This is all assuming a Boras-crafted, ridiculously player friendly deal of course. If the Yankees, by some miracle, can get Jackson on a two year deal, that would change things.

    • TheOneWhoKnocks

      Why would it signal a major conflict in the front office?
      We’ve heard nothing but rumors regarding the Yanks payroll limitations. The organizations stance has been that there is room to improve the team if the right situation presents itself.

      Maybe you don’t agree that Jackson is the right situation, but that’s a different issue entirely.

      There’s a chance they just like Jackson better at his price than Darvish, Wilson, Garza, Buerhle, Danks at their respective prices.

      • Bklyn

        I’m still pissed that they couldn’t even make a reasonable bid for Darvish. It’s not like they would face a penalty if the 2 sides didn’t reach an agreement.

      • Guns of Navarone

        I am assuming the rumors of payroll limitations as true. It’s my understanding that it’s widely regarded as true. The rationale seems to fit. Regardless, it would conflict with the direction Cashman has taken against overpaying for anything but elite level talent… or otherwise filling a very glaring need.

        Again, it depends on the hypothetical deal. If the Yankees overpaid for a second straight year on a Boras client who does not significantly improve the team, a superfluous signing if you will, that would signal a rift in my opinion. The connections between the two situations are laid out in the post. And my feelings wouldn’t be as strong if Cashman himself didn’t come out and say he plain didn’t want Soriano. That’s were my assumption (and it is an assumption) comes from.

        There’s a chance they just like Jackson better at his price than Darvish, Wilson, Garza, Buerhle, Danks at their respective prices.

        Yeah… my confidence in the organization would take a major hit. I’m personally not a fan of Jackson, at all. But again, it depends on the contract they end up giving him. I’ll have no complaints with a two-year deal.

  • Chris in Maine

    Suppose they go with a 4 year offer, front loading the first two years of the deal to help with the 189 mill cap?

    • Need Pitching

      Luxury tax is based on average annual value of the contract … front-loading will have zero impact

  • nsalem

    If they are passing on Kuroda and Owalt on one year deals I don’t see why in the world they would they would want to get involved with Jackson for multiple years. To me it would be a long stretch to call him a number 2 or even a number e. I believe both Garcia and Nova were more effective than him last year and I don’t look at Garcia as a health risk or someone who did it with “smoke and mirrors” Maybe Freddy won’t be as effective as he was last year but at worst he should be as effective as Jackson (at a much better price). We have enough ?marks already and there is no need to add another.

  • Kosmo

    of course if they sign Jackson , which I think is unlikely, someone is going to have to either bomb in ST (Garcia)or be moved (Hughes). There really isn´t any place at the Yankee Inn for Jackson.
    If NY trades for Garza the same problem will occur, unless Hughes comprises part of the trade package.
    Plus what about Noesi, Warren or Phelps ?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Plus what about Noesi, Warren or Phelps ?

      They’ll be needed at some point. No team gets through the season with five starters.

      • Kosmo

        That´s obvious but if you have 6 SP and only 5 spots available somethings got to give. If all 5 plus a Jackson or a Garza are decent in ST who then gets bumped and to where ?

      • nsalem

        Billy Martin tried in 1980 but fell 3 short. If he was still alive I don’t think he would be on any of the starters Christmas Card list.

      • CP
  • steve

    They Should of just signed Mark Buehrle and not Garcia…A rotation of


    Would have been good enough to make a run this postseason..Than try to get Cain or Hamels next year too

    • Preston

      Edwin Jackson is 28, Buehrle is going to be 33 and Jackson has posted a higher WAR each of the last three seasons. Why is paying 14.5 million per year for an older inferior pitcher a better option than paying 12 million per year for the younger more talented one?

  • mike

    while im not the biggest Jackson fan, it isn’t my money….. and having him in the rotation protects the Yanks from an implosion by Freddy/Hughes/Nova, and also is another credible pitcher for next year when the Freddy Experiment will have run its course.

    there are worse things to have than too many pitchers.

    also, while everyone can think the Yanks are concerned about 2014, they likely are more concerned with only drawing 28,000 fans a night if they win only 85 games with a depelted and aeging roster in 2014.

    ill look for Yankee financial forebarence when i see it

  • RetroRob

    I think the chances of a resonable deal here are slim, since we are talking Scott Boras here, and Jackson has been durable and solid for several years now. Those type of players don’t go for bargains.

    I just noticed that Heyman is reporting that Jackson is seeking a five-year deal in the $15 to 17 million per season range. Boras’ sales brochure, or whatever the hell those things are, compares him to C.J. Wilson, Mark Buehrle, John Lackey, AJ Burnett and Derek Lowe.

    My question is should Boras purposely be reminding people of what happend after Lackey and Burnett signed? And the first two, Wilson and Buehrle, are lefties who just signed, and haven’t had their time to collapse yet. Those compares might actually drive down Jackson’s price!

    Anyway, the Yankees should totally pass at this suggested price and contract length.

    • mustang

      “Jackson is seeking a five-year deal in the $15 to 17 ”

      Someone correct me if I’m wrong but if you add in the Yankees tax aka CBA luxury tax isn’t like 18 to 20?

      • RetroRob

        More than that. The Yankees luxury tax is now at 40%, and it will increase to 42% in 2012 and 50% in 2013. Based on that, at the higher end of his number (17M) means Jackson would cost the Yankees more than $24 million in 2012 and $25 million in 2013 and beyond if the Yankees can get below the $189 million threshold in 2014.

        • mustang



  • mustang

    OMG I’m so tired of this can the season just start already.

    I say at this point just stay with the plan (hold on to the kids and don’t spend $$ on something stupid) and pick up whatever warm body falls around later.

    • toad


  • Bronx Byte

    I’d never do more than a 1 year deal with Jackson but then again neither would Scott Boras allow it.
    Even so there’s no room for him with Burnett blocking the way. Once Brian Cashman peddles Burnett a few different things can be done and all within the 40 man roster beginning with Noesi.

  • http://jukeofurl.wordpress.com Juke Early

    OK – last time I mentioned Jackson here, I had his age mixed up with some other guy & the heavy duty sinus meds I was on. So, I was wrong — he’s not old(28). I just don’t see that he’s a No. 2 SP in the AL East. But who will it hurt, if the Yankees sign him and I’m wrong? Still don’t want him for a multi-year deal. AND still muy mucho worn out from MLB jock-blocking* NYY trades.

    *©2011 Juke of Url Productions