Edwin Jackson was traded on Saturday, so he’s now set to become the ultimate journeyman.
Edwin Jackson has been pitching in the Oakland Athletics minor league system this season, with a 6.75 ERA in three starts (14.2 innings). That’s hardly a line that screams upside, but he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for cash considerations on Saturday and is now in line to set a record.
When he pitched for Oakland last year, Jackson tied Octavio Dotel by playing for his 13th major league team. When he takes the mound for the Blue Jays, and it’s a matter of time since they are down a few injured starters, Jackson will hold the record of 14 all by himself
Jackson was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the sixth round of the 2001 draft, and he made his major debut on his 20th birthday in September 2003. He made 19 appearances (14 starts) for the Dodgers through the 2005 season, before being traded to the Tampa Bay Rays. He pitched in 23 games for the Rays in 2006, then made 62 starts for them over the following two seasons.
Since then, Jackson has pitched no more than two full seasons for any team. He has taken the mound for the Detroit Tigers (2009), Arizona Diamondbacks (2010), Chicago White Sox (2010-2011), St. Louis Cardinals (2011), Washington Nationals (2012), Chicago Cubs (2013-2015), Atlanta Braves (2015), Miami Marlins (2016), San Diego Padres (2016), Baltimore Orioles (2017), the Nationals again (2017) and the A’s (2018).
Jackson was traded six times by 2011, with the second of two deals on July 27 of that year coincidentally sending him with Dotel from the Blue Jays to the Cardinals. He had not been traded again before Saturday though, hitting free agency or being released over the last several years
Jackson hasn’t been a particularly good pitcher, with a 4.60 ERA and 10.5 bWAR over 16 major league seasons, but Jackson did make at least 27 starts each season from 2007-2014. Last year with Oakland, he delivered a 3.33 ERA (a 4.65 FIP to reflect some good fortune) over 17 starts (92 innings) with 1.6 bWAR.
Jackson will turn 36 in September, and he has managed to hang on for a long time. He’s now by himself as the ultimate journeyman, with all the negative connotation that may bring. But a career salary approaching $79 million means Jackson has done quite well for himself, and there are a lot pitchers out there who would be happy to last as long as he has.