Edwin Jackson will turn 38 in a month, but the well-traveled right-hander isn’t planning on retiring after his recent run with the United States Olympic roster and is open to signing with a big league club, tweets Jon Morosi of MLB.com.
Jackson a run in 3 2/3 innings between the qualifying rounds and the actual Olympic play as the U.S. eventually won a Silver Medal. He hasn’t pitched in the Majors since a rough 2019 campaign split between the Tigers and the Blue Jays. Jackson did sign with the D-backs in the 2019-20 offseason and also had an offer from the Mets that winter, but Arizona cut him loose rather than bringing him to its alternate site once play resumed last summer, and Jackson did not sign with another club.
That 2019 run between Detroit and Toronto saw Jackson yield 72 runs in 67 2/3 innings pitched, thanks largely to a whopping 23 homers allowed in that relatively short period of time. Home runs were a problem for pitchers throughout the league that season, as most believed the ball was juiced, but Jackson’s 3.06 HR/9 mark was nonetheless the second-highest of any pitcher in baseball (min. 50 innings pitched).
For as rough as Jackson’s 2019 season was, however, his 2018 work was every bit as solid. He tossed 92 innings with the A’s that year, working to a 3.33 ERA over the life of 17 starts. His 17.8 percent strikeout rate was below the league average, and his 9.7 percent walk rate was a bit high, but the results were obviously quite sound.
While it’s now been three years since Jackson’s last productive MLB run, it still wouldn’t be a surprise to see a club take a look on a minor league deal. The trade deadline has passed, and the elimination of revocable August trade waivers has left clubs with limited options to add depth. Jackson probably isn’t an option to step right into a big league rotation, but he could head to someone’s Triple-A club to stretch out or at least get some innings in the ’pen before emerging as an option a few weeks down the line. September rosters can no longer expand to 40 players, but the standard roster size will still grow from 26 to 28 players on Sept. 1.
Jackson is one of few notable free agents on the Team USA roster who could conceivably sign with a big league team as a depth candidate. David Robertson and Todd Frazier are also current big league free agents. Veteran lefty Scott Kazmir was also on the roster, but he accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A with the Giants after he cleared waivers back in June, so he remains under Giants control.
If Jackson does ultimately sign with a team and return to the Majors, he could potentially add to one of the more oddball records around the league; Jackson has pitched for 14 Major League teams, the most in MLB history.