Feb. 7: Jackson will be guaranteed $1.5MM on the deal, MLBTR has learned. That’s paid out in the form of a $1.3MM salary and a $200K buyout on a $3MM club option for the 2025 season. The value of that club option and the buyout can be increased to $4MM and $350K, respectively, based on the number of games Jackson pitches.
Feb. 4: The Twins have signed veteran right-hander Jay Jackson to a big league contract, according to FanSided’s Robert Murray (X link). The deal will become official when Jackson passes a physical. Jackson is represented by agent Nello Gamberdino.
Jackson posted a 2.12 ERA over 29 2/3 innings for the Blue Jays last season. His 3.89 SIERA was less flattering due to a .187 BABIP and 89.3% strand rate, yet Jackson’s strikeout (23.3%) and walk (7.8%) rates were quite solid. This performance also came under trying circumstances for the 36-year-old, as Jackson spent much of the season traveling back and forth from Utah during breaks in the schedule to spend time with his fiancee and newborn son, who was born 15 weeks premature.
In joining the Twins, Jackson has now been a member of 10 different MLB organizations and two Nippon Professional Baseball organizations during his 16 pro seasons. In addition to his four seasons pitching in Japan, he has seen action at the Major League level with five of his clubs, starting with the Padres in 2015. Jackson has amassed only two years and 28 days of proper MLB service time given all of the stops and starts in his career, yet his contract with Toronto last winter included a clause that allowed him to test the market again without still being under arbitration control.
Despite his journeyman resume, Jackson’s actual results have been pretty respectable, with a 3.50 ERA and 29.5% K% over 87 1/3 career innings in the Show, albeit with an 11% walk rate. He brings some experience and perhaps under-the-radar upside to a Minnesota bullpen that has started to receive some attention over the last week, via the trade that sent Jorge Polanco to the Mariners.
Justin Topa looks to be a candidate for higher-leverage innings, while Anthony DeSclafani is a long relief option if he isn’t needed in the rotation. Jackson figures to work closer to the back end of the pen and might be something of a proverbial 25th or 26th man on the roster, even though his guaranteed contract gives him some advantage over other pitchers who might have minor league options.