Last year he was 12-9 with a 3.72 ERA and 148 strikeouts in 199 2/3 innings pitched for the White Sox and Cardinals last season. In 2010, he was 10-12 with 4.47 ERA and 181 Ks in 209 1/3 IP with the Diamondbacks and White Sox. After pitching well in his NLDS start against Philadelphia, (W, 6 IP, 5H, 2R, 1BB, 4K) he struggled against the Brewers in the NLCS and the Rangers in the WS giving up 9 runs in 11 2/3 IP in his past three postseason starts.
Before I list the teams most likely to land him heres some teams that will not sign Jackson: New York Mets, Oakland Athletics, Minnesota Twins, San Diego Padres, and Houston Astros. For other reasons, he will not be signing with Tampa Bay, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Texas and either of the Los Angles clubs.
Without further due, here's the top ten most likely destinations for the right hander, where the team that lands him will pay, but not as much as Jackson and his agent are looking for.
10. Pittsburgh Pirates: The Pirates are a sleeper. They would like to have a number one pitcher to lead the staff similar to Kevin Correia last season. They are expected to lose Paul Maholm to free agency and Charlie Morton is expected to miss the first part of the 2012 season. James MacDonald and Jeff Karstens are anchoring a staff which will have some youth that may not be ready for the majors yet. Jackson fits in here, assuming the money is right and he doesn't want to go to a team that has a better chance to win.
9. New York Yankees: Many see the Yankees as the favorite here. Its possible that he signs with the Yankees, being Brian Cashman refuses to make fair trade. The Yankees have a need for another starter, but I see Roy Oswalt being a better fit. The Yankees have not spent a lot this offseason and clearly have the edge when it comes to adding what they need. Look at it this way, when spring training starts, the Yankees will have another proven starting pitcher.
8. St. Louis Cardinals: He got himself a World Series ring last season in St. Louis. The Cardinals are expecting to get Adam Wainwright back and the rotation looks solid with Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, Wainwright, Kyle Lohse and Marc Rzcepczynski joining the rotation next season. If Wainwright becomes a question mark or the Cardinals change their mind on Rzcepczynski, Jackson could work providing depth to the rotation.
7. Seattle Mariners: The Mariners could be another sleeper. Talk out of Seattle is the team wants to compete, not totally rebuild like MLB wants them to do. They have Felix Hernandez and Michael Pineda along with Jason Vargas to keep them in a lot of games. They are ways away offensively to compete, but it would be much different if they added Prince Fielder. (As well as Washington, the Mariners may be able to offer the most money for Prince.) Jackson would provide depth and along with Fielder would give them the best chance to compete with the Texas Rangers and Los Angles Angels.
6. Colorado Rockies: The Rockies have been interested in starting pitching all offseason. They were interested in Gio Gonzalez and there has been much talk about Mets LHP Jonathon Niese. Without Jorge De la Rosa to start the season, the Rockies don't have a true number one pitcher. Jackson fits the build and could work in Colorado.
5. Miami Marlins: The more time goes by, the more it seems like the Marlins may be done. They almost had a deal with CJ Wilson, so it makes me think there is still money left in the bank for Jackson, who would come for less than Wilson got in LA. Add in the fact that the Marlins offered more money for Wilson, they can't be counted out.
4. Baltimore Orioles: The Orioles have been talking to Oswalt as well. They clearly need a pitcher to pitch opening day next year. Similar to the Pirates, the Orioles will probably have to overpay to land him being they are not looking to win any time soon.
3. Washington Nationals: The Nationals were interested in Jackson and Oswalt earlier in the offseason. That was before they landed Gio Gonzalez from the A's. Mike Rizzo still has interest in adding a starting pitcher and though I still see them as favorites to land Fielder, it is still realistic to add Jackson. Jackson at the top of the rotation along with Gonzalez will allow the younger pitchers like Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmerman to take their time to develop. If Fielder signs elsewhere, the Nationals could become the favorites.
2. Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox offseason has been boring in regards to player movement. They have a new GM, manager and coaching staff but at this point they have the same team that blew a nine game lead to miss the postseason in 2011. They need pitching; outside of Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz they have nobody. They will add a closer and perhaps could move Daniel Bard into the rotation. Jackson is a very good fit in Boston and could thrive with that lineup. Boston may be a little gun shy after signing Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lackey. But some way, they will have a new starting pitcher in their rotation by the start of 2012. Why not Boston, the team that needs it the most.
1. Toronto Blue Jays: Remember, the Blue Jays had Jackson for a minute last year in between him being in Chicago and St. Louis. They were aggressive on Yu Darvish, though not aggressive enough. They had interest in Gonzalez and may be after Niese. I am convinced the Blue Jays want to make a run this year and Jackson provides depth in their rotation. They will logically see Jackson as a cheaper alternative to Darvish. He will sign with the Blue Jays.