If you were asleep at a reasonable time like a responsible adult, you might have missed a little Orioles news in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. The Baltimore Sun’s Eduardo Encina reported very early this morning that the Orioles will be selecting the contract of MLB veteran Edwin Jackson from Triple-A Norfolk.
Jackson, 33, is a veteran of 14 MLB seasons, over which he has combined to post a 4.65 career ERA. In the 2016 season, he had an ERA of 5.89 across 84 innings between Miami and San Diego. Not very inspiring performance, but the Orioles had him at Norfolk and Jackson exercised his opt-out and the O’s have chosen to bring him up to the big league club rather than let him leave the organization.
When Jackson gets into a game for the Orioles, this will be the 12th different MLB team for which he has pitched. That is a long, strange trip indeed. He has been used primarily out of the bullpen since the start of the 2015 season, although the Padres pulled him in for 13 starts last season out of what I can only assume was desperation.
While pitching for Norfolk, Jackson, who only signed with the organization on April 5, appeared in 12 games. Just one of these games was a start. He pitched a total of 20.1 innings since debuting on May 7, with a respectable 3.10 ERA. The concern will be walks. Jackson walked 10 of the 86 batters he faced for the Tides.
The German-born (really) Jackson pitched for more than one inning in eight of his 12 Norfolk outings and pitched 2+ innings in four out of 12. If his addition works out well for the O’s, he’ll probably be doing something similar at the MLB level here. As you’ve surely noticed, the Orioles can always use someone in that role this season.
The interesting question that we will have to wait until this afternoon or evening to have an answer is who Jackson will replace on the 25-man roster. Clearing a 40-man spot is easy because the Orioles have an open spot on the 40-man until this move is official.
Though a number of fans - including this blogger - may be tired of Ubaldo Jimenez being on the roster, it would be quite a surprise for them to get rid of Jimenez in a move like this.
That just doesn’t seem like the Orioles style, especially when two of the optionable arms in the bullpen, Donnie Hart and Mike Wright, haven’t pitched like guys whose presence at the MLB level is urgent. Either one could be sent down to the minors here.
The Orioles are always capable of surprise when it comes to these moves, so there’s no way to know for sure. The O’s might even find a convenient injury or real enough injury that will put somebody on the disabled list for the minimum 10 days to give them a chance to decide what they want as a longer-term solution for the roster.
How do you feel about Jackson’s addition? Whose spot do you think he will take on the roster and how do you expect to see the Orioles use him? Let us know in the comments below.