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Yankees Starting Pitching - Target #4: Edwin Jackson

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Continuing the countdown with #4 (and target #3 to go up later this afternoon), we come across a familiar face. Edwin Jackson is a free agent for the first time in his career and figures to draw plenty of interest from suitors. Why expect anything less?

Edwin Jackson hasn't been the most consistent pitcher on the free agent market, but he could offer the most bang for your buck. A plethora of teams have already acquired him in his young career after his start with the Los Angeles Dodgers, including the Tampa Bay Rays, Detroit Tigers, Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago White Sox and St. Louis Cardinals.

Fully acknowledging the fact that Edwin Jackson is not a top-flight starting pitcher, he's certainly good enough to be considered this offseason by the Yankees

Since 2007, Jackson has started at least 32 games per season and has quietly racked up the innings over the past three years with 623.0. He often pitches into the seventh inning, which is more than acceptable from a guy that isn't necessarily a #1 or #2 starter. 

As for his actual pitches, he's got the stuff to shine but hasn't pieced together an entire season of brilliance yet. His fastball averages slightly under 95 mph complemented by a sharp, biting 87 mph slider and 86 mph change-up. 

His K/9 rate has steadily averaged at 7.1 over the past three years with his BB/9 being 3.0. I expect to see the LD% against him to, at the very least, fall back down to his career average of 20.3% after spiking to 24.9% in 2011. A notable difference between his 2009 and 2010/2011 campaigns is the fact that he's keeping the ball on the ground at a much higher rate despite the LD% rising a bit. If his LD% does indeed come back down to earth, his GB% should be in the 46-48% range. 

It wouldn't surprise me in the least to see up to 15 different teams bid for Jackson's services. He's been good enough to portray an image of an above-average starter in an average rotation or a solid back-of-the-end guy in an already above-average or great rotation. 

According to bref, no player other than Cliff Lee in 2010 received a contract longer than three years. At the young, durable age of 28, Jackson will likely be looking for a four-year deal and it should be in the area of $10 million or so per season as a starting point. I wouldn't be surprised to see teams overbid and go higher than that up to $12 million. 

With Jackson ultimately making more sense elsewhere, the Yankees would be wise to explore him as an option due to his age and track record of moderate success pitching against the AL East. 

Stay tuned for target #3 later this afternoon!

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