ESPN.COM's Jayson Stark reports that the Nationals are still working hard to sign Dunn to an extension, but if they can not sign him to a deal before the deadline, he will likely be shipped. He also reports that the club may be working on a three-way deal with the White Sox and the Diamondbacks which would bring starting pitcher Edwin Jackson to Washington:
"Rumblings continue to surface about a possible three-team deal involving the Nationals, White Sox and Diamondbacks that would send Edwin Jackson to Washington, Dunn to Chicago and a bunch of young pitchers to Arizona."
Jackson is 6-9 with a 5.01 ERA this season in 20 starts for Arizona, posting 101 strikeouts to 58 walks in 129 innings. The 26-year-old Jackson is coming off of a strong season with Detroit where he went 13-9 with a 3.62 ERA
Are Edwin Jackson's inconsistent and recently poor numbers worth the talent of an Adam Dunn?
Jackson came into the league with Los Angeles at the young age of 19, offering a mid 90's fastball with a plus curve and change. The trouble is, Jackson was never really able to put it all together, failing to post an ERA below 5.00 from 2002-2007. After a few struggling years with Tampa, many thought Jackson had finally arrived at age 25 as he posted 3.5 WAR with a career low 2.94 BB/9.
Of course, it didn't last.
Jackson is struggling this season after a transition to the National League. While some people may blame his poor performance on pitching in the NL for the first time since 2005, or just label it a pure set back for a talented pitcher, the numbers tend to tell a different tale. In Jackson's career year in 2009, there is strong indication that he either got lucky or was the benefactor of some good defense. For instance, his BABIP was the lowest he had recorded ever in a full season, resting a .281. His career BABIP is .309. Furthermore his FIP and his xFIP were 4.28 and 4.39 respectively, indicating that without his defense his ERA would have been nearly a run higher.
Of course, Jacksons numbers have returned to earth this season, and he is pitching at what is likely his true ability.
So do the Nationals want a starter who walks four batters per nine innings and posts a 5.01 ERA? One who is also scheduled to make $8.5 million in the last year of his contract last year?
Doesn't seem to make sense to me.
The one benefit that Jackson does bring is consistency and the ability to eat up innings throughout the season, the very role Rizzo hoped Jason Marquis would fill in 2010. While there is value in that role, a role the club currently has a vacancy in, is it worth the price of Adam Dunn?