Why Mr. Jackson went to Washington

Two takeaways from having Edwin Jackson spurn both one-year and three-year offers from the Pirates to agree to a one-year, $11 million deal with the Nationals:

  • 1. Agent Scott Boras apparently feels that the Nats will be a better team than the Bucs, thus a better forum for Jackson to inflate his value for re-entering the free-agent market next winter.
  • 2. Boras feels Jackson therefore will eventually land a long-term deal for more than the $30 million the Pirates were willing to consider.

I’d take both of those bets with Boras.

Yes, the Nationals made more high-profile moves this winter (the acquisition of and ensuing extension for Gio Gonzalez) and pack higher-profile prospects (Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg). But that won’t translate into a better record than that of the Bucs.

Sure, partly because Pittsburgh will play more games against a weaker division. That wouldn’t have been noted with an asterisk next to Jackson’s won-loss record. Bottom-line, Jackson could’ve had a superior statement season with the Bucs. By the way — he has one win in 10 career starts against NL East clubs (excluding Washington) and six wins in 21 starts against NL Central teams (excluding Pittsburgh).

Deferring Jackson’s bigger payday to post-2012 is an even riskier move. He could be swallowed up by a market that might include the likes of Matt Cain, Zack Greinke and Cole Hamels.

As for a pair of other veteran righties frequently tied to the Pirates …

Roy Oswalt is balancing so many factors — geography, salary, role — he could get to the point of having to reconsider the Pirates.

A.J. Burnett is a classic low-risk, potentially high-return option. But the Pirates do not have any motive to make a move now. Demand for the Yankees righty is low. If midway through Spring Training the Bucs feel a need to look for reinforcements, Burnett will still be available.

5 Comments

I think winning is also one of Oswalt’s deciding factors and that alone will eliminate Pittsburgh from his plans.

I think the demand for Burnett will remain low (or non-existent), but if the Pirates wait until the middle of Spring Training, possibly after an injury to Bedard or Correia, then the price for Burnett goes up and the Yankees will want more than just Jomes.

You’re correct on Oswalt, which raises a major peeve: Players looking for “winning” situations chafe me. How about going someplace and contributing to turning it into a winner?

I look at the Burnett thing differently: His price wouldn’t rise, but if they determine a need for him later, then the Pirates might consider giving up Jones for him.

Not sure why anyone would say the Pirates will have a better record than the Nats this year. It sure didn’t happen last year even with all the injuries the Nats suffered.

The Nationals had 8 more wins than the Pirates. Not a huge deal.

The Pirates also had injuries including using 8 different catchers, losing Tabata for a majority of the season and then a couple of starters to close out the season.

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