The Tigers have agreed to a minor league contract with veteran righty Edwin Jackson, as was first indicated on the league transactions log at MLB.com. Jason Beck of MLB.com tweets that Jackson is joining the club’s Triple-A affiliate in Toledo.
It’ll be Jackson’s second tour of duty with the Tigers, as he spent the 2009 campaign in Detroit as well. That year was one of the best of Jackson’s career, as he logged a career-high 214 innings with a 3.62 ERA and the lone All-Star nod of his remarkable big league journey. Jackson was recently cut loose by the Blue Jays — the MLB-record 14th team for which he has pitched.
The 35-year-old Jackson couldn’t get on track in Toronto, limping to a miserable 11.12 ERA in 28 1/3 innings there. He was charged with 35 earned runs on a whopping 49 hits (12 home runs) and 13 walks with 19 strikeouts in that time. That said, “E-Jax” was a vital member of the Athletics’ surprising playoff push just a season ago. His 2018 campaign featured 92 innings of 3.33 ERA ball with 6.7 K/9, 3.6 BB/9 and 1.2 HR/9.
Jackson still averaged 93.5 mph on his fastball in his time with the Blue Jays — a modest increase over last year’s velocity — so there’s still plenty of life in his arm. He’ll head to Toledo for now, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him get a chance at the big league level in the near future. Detroit’a rotation has already lost Michael Fulmer (Tommy John surgery) and Matt Moore (knee surgery) for the season, and it’s not clear when (or if) Tyson Ross will be cleared to resume pitching in 2019. Add the possibility of a Matthew Boyd trade in the next nine days, and the uncertainty in the rotation is palpable. It’s also possible that Jackson could resurface as a bullpen option. There’s perhaps even more uncertainty in the Detroit relief corps, and closer Shane Greene is even likelier than Boyd to be traded before July 31.