(Over the next week, we will be examining each of the A's free agents to determine which players are most likely to return in 2019.)
When the A's signed Edwin Jackson to a minor league deal in June, they couldn't possibly have expected him to be a major contributor at the big league level. But incredibly, that's exactly what he ended up being.
Jackson, 35, went 6-3 with a 3.33 ERA in 17 starts with the A's, earning the 100th win of his career in the process.
"We wouldn't have been where we were without (him)," said manager Bob Melvin. "We think very highly of (him). ... (He) fit in really well here."
Added general manager David Forst: "For Edwin to come in here having been just about everywhere else, you can't say enough about what (he) added, not only to the pitching staff, but to the whole group. (He'll) certainly be a part of our conversation going forward."
Why the A's should re-sign him
Jackson showed he still has something left in the tank and was one of Oakland's best starting pitchers the second half of the season. He earned just $1.5 million and doesn't figure to get a whole lot more in 2019 at the age of 35.
Jackson fit in with the A's clubhouse immediately and quickly became one of the team's veteran leaders. With several starting pitchers coming off injuries to start the season, Jackson would provide some much-needed depth in the rotation.
Why the A's should let him go
At 35 years old, Jackson is clearly at the tail end of his long career. Despite his stellar ERA, he only struck out 68 batters in 92 innings, with 37 walks. His 1.22 WHIP was second-worst among Oakland's starters at the end of the season. A dip in his production would not be surprising.
Jackson will likely be back in Oakland for at least one more season. The A's will need reliable starting pitching, especially early in the year while A.J. Puk and Jharel Cotton continue to recover from Tommy John surgery, and Jackson is a strong and affordable option. For Jackson, it's another opportunity to pitch for a playoff contender and stay part of a clubhouse he truly enjoyed.