The number of roster decisions the Washington Nationals will have to make this offseason will be relatively few. They have a small number of impending free agents and a small number of holes to fill as they prepare their 2013 roster.
But one of the questions they will have to answer is whether or not right-hander Edwin Jackson is someone they’d like to have as a part of their future.
“If we can work something out and I have a chance to come back with these guys again, I’d definitely be happy about it,” Jackson said Friday night. “But, as far as right now, we’ll deal with that when that time comes.
“Going into free agency you’re not really sure of their plans. They have great pitchers here. If I wasn’t here, they have five guys that they could run out and still feel comfortable with — dudes who are good pitchers. But as the offseason transpires, we’ll definitely see what happens.”
The well-traveled 29-year-old signed a one-year $11 million deal with the Nationals this past February. They saw an innings shortage knowing they’d be shutting down Stephen Strasburg and felt lucky to add Jackson as a No. 4 starter.
But going into 2013, Jackson will be a free agent again and likely looking for a longer-term deal — and the Nationals may be in a different situation.
The Nationals’ rotation next year figures to feature much of the same talent as it did this year: Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Ross Detwiler. After that it’s a little cloudy.
The Nationals still have John Lannan under team control for another year, but it’s unclear if they plan to tender him a contract. The team also plans to convert right-hander Christian Garcia back into a starting pitcher and give him an opportunity to make the team out of camp.
So would Jackson fit? Perhaps. His 4.07 ERA doesn’t necessarily seem all that appealing for such a high price but, as has been Jackson’s issue throughout much of his career, when he’s on he can dazzle like some of the game’s best. As he showed in the playoffs and late in September, he can also be fairly off.
Teammates praise Jackson for his loose demeanor and for his mentality on the mound but the Nationals will have to evaluate how much those qualities are worth.
“it’s just a matter of both sides coming to the terms of agreement when that situation presents itself,” Jackson said. “I’m sure everybody’s still trying to digest what happened. It’s probably the last thing on anybody’s mind right now.
“I’ve said it all season, it’s definitely a group of guys that I’ve gelled with. We had a fun year. We have fun out there. We didn’t see it ending like this.”
Jackson has played for seven organizations already and he was thought to be seeking a multi-year deal last offseason when agent Scott Boras helped him find his way to the Nationals on a one-year deal. Jackson has since left Boras for the Legacy Sports Group.
“A multiple-year deal is definitely in mind,” Jackson said. “It’s just a matter of both sides coming to an agreement wherever I go.”