Jackson, 34, spent the 2012 season in D.C. and returned to D.C. last year to help fill a rotation void. He re-joined the club on a minors deal that deal would have paid him at a $1.5MM rate in the majors, with up to $1.4MM in incentives.
Most opt-out provisions allow a player to decide whether to exercise the clause. If triggered, the team then has a period of time within which to decide whether to add the player to the MLB roster. In this case, it appears from the report that the team has already made up its mind to grant Jackson his release, though in theory the Nats could presumably decide to elevate him to the majors.
Jackson certainly has produced solid results thus far at Triple-A Syracuse. Through ten starts, he owns a 3.40 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9. Of course, there’s also no evidence of any particular changes that would allow Jackson to produce better numbers than he has of late in the majors. Since the start of the 2013 season, he has thrown 531 2/3 innings of 5.32 ERA ball at the game’s highest level.
In any event, the Nationals are evidently disinclined to make a 40-man move in order to hang onto Jackson. There’s no room in the rotation at present, though presumably he could have been utilized in a relief capacity, as he has with some frequency in recent seasons. Jackson will head back onto the open market in hopes of finding a more promising path back to the big leagues.