FRIDAY: The A’s have announced the signing.
WEDNESDAY, 6:52pm: MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tweets that the two sides have indeed reached an agreement on a deal.
6:44pm: The A’s are closing in on a minor league contract with veteran righty Edwin Jackson, reports Julian McWilliams of The Athletic (via Twitter). Jackson spent the bulk of the 2018 campaign with the Oakland organization and played a key role in their rotation down the stretch last season.
The 35-year-old Jackson stepped into the record books the day he suited up for the Athletics last season, as they were the 13th Major League team for which he’d appeared, tying him with fellow well-traveled righty Octavio Dotel. While the new agreement with Oakland won’t give him a chance at staking sole possession to that oddball record, Jackson should have an opportunity to return to the big leagues for what would be a 17th season.
Jackson did far more than turn himself into a semi-obscure trivia answer during his time with Oakland. Though he may have initially been viewed as a stopgap option for the A’s, he quickly cemented his place on the team’s roster and made himself into a vital part of the pitching staff. As the Athletics’ rotation was ravaged by injuries, Jackson made 17 starts and provided the A’s with 92 innings of 3.33 ERA ball. Always a hard thrower, Jackson saw his velocity hold up even into his mid-30s as he averaged 93.2 mph on his fastball with 6.7 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 1.17 HR/9 and a 36.4 percent ground-ball rate along the way.
The Oakland rotation currently consists of Mike Fiers, Marco Estrada, Brett Anderson, Frankie Montas and Aaron Brooks, but once the veteran Jackson is up to speed, he’ll emerge as a candidate to step into the back of the starting five. Other healthy options on the 40-man roster for the A’s include Daniel Mengden, Paul Blackburn and Tanner Anderson, while righties Jharel Cotton, Chris Bassitt and Daniel Gossett are on the mend on the big league disabled list. Top starter Sean Manaea underwent shoulder surgery late in the 2018 season, and although he was initially expected to miss most — if not all — of the 2019 season, there’s now some hope that he could be back around the All-Star break.