The late blooming free agent market is beginning to produce contracts, this time in the form of a one year deal between Edwin Jackson and the Washington Nationals.
Many fans will remember that Edwin Jackson joined the St. Louis Cardinals in a mid-summer trade that sent Colby Rasmus to the Toronto Blue Jays. That trade, at the time, seemingly divided Cardinal Nation on the opinion of what the team was hoping to accomplish.
The critics of the trade felt the Cardinals were going all in for 2012 and paying too high of a price. At the heart of the deal was Rasmus, considered by many to be a budding star who simply could not get along with manager Tony LaRussa. Rasmus was part of the future in St. Louis as far as fans were concerned. Edwin Jackson, Octavio Dotel, and Corey Patterson were rent-a-players that proved this franchise was only looking at the current season. The evidence to support this argument is mounting as all three players have now moved on.
Cardinal Nation seems slow to accept the fact that General Manager John Mozeliak has instituted a new regime, and a new strategy, towards building this club. The players that were returned for Rasmus, Trever Miller, P.J. Walters and Brian Tallet did exactly what they were designed to do: they helped win in 2012 and build for the future. All thanks to the free agency system as we know it.
The key part to the trade from the Cardinals side was Marc Rzepczynski, a left handed relief pitcher that may well find his way into the rotation some day. In addition, those pieces that helped win in 2012 became ranked free agents, delivering the Cardinals with supplemental draft picks in this year’s amateur draft in exchange for their services on other teams.
Jackson reached an agreement with the Nationals this afternoon on a one year contract that, at this time, has not had the financial terms disclosed. Jackson will anchor a young, yet strong, starting rotation in Washington that also features a returning phenom in Steven Strasburg.
The Nationals take a very calculated gamble with Jackson. Should he continue to produce the way he has in his career, he will benefit the team and quite likely become a ranked free agent next off season, landing them a draft pick as well. Jackson, on the other hand, looks towards the winter of 2012 to provide him, hopefully, with a greater chance at a much larger contract.
The Cardinals took their gamble last July. It might just pay off.
Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
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