Edwin Jackson drawing interest from Rangers and Padres

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The market for free agent right-hander Edwin Jackson has been a bit of a mystery until now, but with Zack Greinke and Ryan Dempster falling off the board over the past week and Anibal Sanchez nearing a decision, it appears things are finally heating up.

According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, Jackson is a target of the Rangers on a potential short-term deal. Meanwhile, Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com was told by rival executives from two different teams that the Padres are “strongly pursuing” Jackson. The market for Jackson is said to be “strong,” so the Padres may drop out if the bidding got to $12-13 million over four or five years. That sounds a little rich, even in this market, so the Padres probably wouldn’t be alone there.

Jackson, 29, had a 4.03 ERA and 168/58 K/BB ratio over 189 2/3 innings this past season with the Nationals. He has pitched with seven different teams over 10 seasons in the majors. Signing with the Rangers or Padres would make it eight.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉