Monday, March 24, 2008

Jackson Needs To Go

I can’t take it anymore. Edwin Jackson needs to go. He’s teased us for long enough. If this team is going to go anywhere, or even win 75-80 games this season, they need to get rid of Jackson. The team won’t admit it, but the only reason he’s still in the majors is because he’s out of options. By designating him for assignment the Rays would have 10 days to trade, release or put him on waivers. He would have to clear waivers before taking the assignment, but I doubt that happens as a team with thin pitching like the Marlins or Nationals would surely grab him. But you know what? I don’t care at this point.

Jackson has shown flashes of brilliance during his short career, but he hasn’t demonstrated that he can have sustained success in the Major Leagues. Last year he posted a 5.76ERA with a 1.76WHIP and .299BAA. His VORP for 2007 was -8.4, and his ERA+ was 78, which was actually one of the best of his career. This spring he’s throwing up a beautiful 5.40ERA with 7BBs in 16 innings. Why not try out Jeff Neimann in that 4th or 5th starter role? Neimann posted a 1.50 spring ERA and has nothing to prove atDurham. I know you can’t rely solely on spring stats, but can’t do any worse than Jackson has.

I know the Rays don’t want to cut Jackson loose and see him have success some place else, how good would Josh Hamilton look in Right Field right now, but for a franchise as pitching rich as the Rays it’s worth the risk. If Andy & Co. are truly trying to put the best team they can on the field, they need to wave goodbye to Jackson.


Robert Rittner said...

I responded to this when it was posted at Rays Anatomy, and I will here too.

Jackson is not blocking anyone. Niemann is clearly not ready for the majors. His 2007 in Durham was promising but not outstanding, and was his first healthy year. He needs more time to mature and refine his pitching.

His spring stats are meaningless-absolutely meaningless. If the spring indicated anything, it is that he labored in every outing, was inefficient with his pitches and in his 12 innings walked too many (5) and struck out too few (5). Building a case on a good ERA for 12 innings in the spring is building on sand.

After Niemann, there are no other options for the rotation. If anyone will be sacrificed if and when Niemann is ready, it will more likely be Hammel anyway.

In any case, it is far smarter to have Niemann ready, with more experience, to replace Jackson if he falters again than to have nobody backing up Niemann when he struggles in his first major league trial, as he almost inevitably will, especially if he arrives with so little minor league experience or success.