Back in January, the Marlins picked up Edwin Jackson on a league minimum contract to provide a veteran presence in the clubhouse and starting pitching depth, even though Jackson spent all of the 2015 season pitching out of the bullpen. This happened as a result of a disastrous few seasons in the Cubs' rotation, mainly due to his inability to command his pitches effectively.
However, Miami took a chance on him, thinking that he could be a potential bounce-back candidate after his numbers took a turn for the better last season. Pitching coaches are working closely with Jackson to fine-tine his mechanics, and Monday was his first game action of 2016. It didn't go well.
He didn't walk anybody, but the veteran did give up eight hits, including a home run, after facing only 14 batters. Jackson's tendency to be very hittable at times raised its ugly head in this game, and that sort of performance will not win him a spot in the rotation as the season kicks into gear.
As it stands, Edwin Jackson is battling with the likes of Adam Conley, David Phelps and Justin Nicolino for the fifth spot in the rotation. It appears as though the Marlins would prefer for Jackson to be a starter than a bullpen piece, but that might change now that Carter Capps has to spend time on the disabled list to start the season.
Of course, any change to pitching mechanics takes time to get used to, but this was not the way that Jackson would have wanted to start his tenure with the Marlins.
It remains to be seen whether the work Jackson is putting in to alter his pitching mechanics will revitalize his career. One thing is for sure, though: he will receive all the guidance he needs from the coaching staff and will be given ample opportunity to prove himself on the mound. With a little work, it is not outside the realm of possibility to see Jackson becoming an average-or-better fifth starter.
Miami knew that Edwin Jackson was a project when they decided to bring him in. There is never a problem with having too much depth, but it is possible that he would not be a viable solution if injuries resulted in a problem with depth. The Marlins got Jackson at a relatively fair price, so they had nothing to lose and, perhaps, a lot to gain if the moved worked out in their favor. After Monday's outing, though, Jackson has a steep hill to climb if he is to make the rotation and show Miami he was worth the investment.