To my knowledge, Edwin Jackson hasn't passed his physical yet. So, to my knowledge, Edwin Jackson isn't yet officially a member of the Washington Nationals. But general manager Mike Rizzo didn't let that pesky little detail stop him from talking about the Jackson move with the media.
We turn to Nationals blog Federal Baseball. There's a lot in there, but here's one excerpt:
A big reason the Nationals felt the signing made sense, the GM explained, was, "... not only that [Jackson]'s a young talented pitcher that's had success in the past. You look at the other parts of our rotation where Jordan Zimmermann is coming off a 160-inning season, has never pitched 200.0 innings in the big leagues. Chien-Ming Wang [is] coming off a couple years of inactivity and hasn't really stretched his arm out for a long period of time...We felt that we had an innings-shortage and if you do the research, out of the eight playoff teams last year, six of those eight teams had two 200+ innings pitchers on the team and we felt that we had an innings-shortage and this not only fixes the innings-shortage, it also gives us a quality standard that we feel can compete with any team in the division."going to be on some sort of pitch limit.
Strasburg's awesome, but he's young and coming off injury. Wang is forever coming off injury. Zimmermann has an injury history, too, and while Gio Gonzalez has consecutive seasons of 200+ innings, he's one man, and he's also just 26.
Enter Jackson. A lot of people are familiar with the quality of Edwin Jackson's stuff. It's that familiarity that makes a lot of people think of Edwin Jackson as a disappointment. What fewer people might realize is that Jackson has a track record of durability. He hasn't been on the DL since 2004. He's made at least 31 starts in five consecutive seasons. Over the last three seasons, he's thrown 623 innings, plus another handful in the playoffs.
Everybody knows that Jackson's a power pitcher. Fewer people know that Jackson's been a steady pitcher. Pitchers are kind of unpredictable so you can't just assume that Jackson will stay healthy going forward, but the history is suggestive. Jackson's a good candidate to fill a hole the Nationals wanted to fill.