Throughout the offseason, The Nats Blog will look back at every player’s 2012 season to summarize and analyze his performance, and we’ll look ahead to his possible role in 2013. We’ll go from #1 Steve Lombardozzi all the way to #63 Henry Rodriguez until Spring Training. Enjoy.
Edwin Jackson was an interesting case for the Washington Nationals in 2012. Signed in February for a one-year deal, Jackson was seen as a durable, experienced player to fit into a Nationals rotation that featured young, inexperienced pitchers. Jackson had experience pitching in the National League, playing for the 2010 Arizona Diamondbacks and the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals. He also had postseason experience – something the majority of the Nationals lacked – from pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2008 playoffs and for St. Louis in 2011. All of these assets made him a great addition to the Nationals’ rotation.
Jackson averaged 207 1/3 IP from 2009-2011, and had a 3.79 ERA in 2011, a good stat the Nationals hoped would continue in 2012. His job was to be a good fourth starter and eat up plenty of innings. Some people tried to compare Jackson to John Lannan, saying that Jackson was an overpay for a right-handed version of Lannan. That claim isn't even remotely true, as Jackson has the right stuff to be an ace of a major league pitching staff.
Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty felt that Jackson could be better by changing the way he pitched, and worked with him to avoid showing too much of the ball when pitching. Based on Jackson’s numbers in 2012, McCatty’s instruction seemed to have helped, at least somewhat. Jackson was 10-11 last season with a 4.03 ERA in 189 2/3 innings pitched, and he posted career-low numbers in several categories: WHIP (1.22), batting average against (.243) and walks (58).
There were moments in 2012 that left fans very impressed with Jackson. He pitched a great complete game in D.C. against the Cincinnati Reds in April, allowing only one run and striking out nine.
Jackson was consistent for most of the season, pitching around a 3.50 ERA. However, he struggled greatly in September. That month he earned one win and two losses with a 7.92 ERA, his worst month with the Nationals. During the postseason he continued that stat trend when he gave up four runs in five innings in Game Three of the NLDS. There was also the strange appearance in Game Five, when he came out of the bullpen to pitch the seventh inning and gave up a run in what would be a sad game for Nationals fans.
At the end of the 2012 postseason the Nationals declined to make Jackson a qualifying offer, making him a free agent. The Nationals then signed free agent Dan Haren to replace Jackson's spot in the rotation.
Next Year: Jackson signed a four-year, $52 million deal with the Chicago Cubs, where he will most likely be the second or third starter. After playing for five teams in the last four years, this contract marks the first time since his three years with the Rays from 2006-2009 that Jackson has signed a multi-year deal.
Up Next: #34 Bryce Harper