Jackson hasn’t “closed the doors” on a return to Nats

Back at home after returning from a recent trip out west, Edwin Jackson isn’t stressing about his contract negotiation process.

The free agent right-hander hit the open market more than a week ago and has had plenty of chances to check in with his agent and ask which teams have already come calling. But Jackson says he’s been pretty hands-off when it comes to the business side of things at this stage, choosing to relax, get some vacation time in and start some light agility training rather than worry about where he’ll land next season.

“Pretty much now, it’s just wait and see,” Jackson said this afternoon in a telephone conversation. “I mean, I know I’ll know more after the Winter Meetings (Dec. 3-6). I’ll have a better idea of what’s going on after everybody (meets) up and everything. But I’ve just been patient now, man. Just relaxing, enjoying the family time.”

Jackson said he doesn’t know whether the Nationals have expressed any interest in bringing him back for 2013, even though he’s obviously aware the team didn’t extend him a qualifying offer by last Friday’s deadline. Such an offer would have given the right-hander the option of accepting a one-year, $13.3 million deal or declining in pursuit of a better offer.

Many around the league were surprised that the Nats didn’t extend Jackson the qualifying offer. The $13.3 million would have presented a fairly minimal raise over the $11 million the team paid him last season, and if the 29-year-old had declined the qualifying offer and signed elsewhere, the Nats would have received a 2013 compensatory draft pick.

Jackson says he wasn’t surprised, however.

“I mean, you come around in this game and nothing is a surprise, really,” he said. “I’ve seen some of everything. It doesn’t mean that they still won’t try to go after me, but who knows? We’ll see. I’ve really just been enjoying (my) little man, getting time in with him. When baseball and everything starts to come around, I’ll worry about what I can control, but other than that, just relaxing and getting everything right.”

Once the Nationals were knocked out of the postseason and the attention started turning toward next season, Jackson said he’d like to return to the Nationals if the two sides were able to work out a deal.

The chances of Jackson re-signing with the Nats appear slim after the team declined to present him with a qualifying offer, but Jackson is still open to coming back to D.C., and he isn’t ruling out that possibility.

“Yeah, that’s still how I view it,” Jackson said. “Now, it’s just an open gate for every team to be able to contact me. But I still haven’t closed the doors on any team just because they didn’t put in an offer. That doesn’t mean I’m closing the door. It just enabled more competition to get in the mix, more teams can put in offers.”

Jackson, who went 10-11 with a 4.03 ERA this season, might actually receive more interest from teams now that the Nats decided not to give him a qualifying offer, because it means the team that eventually signs him won’t have to surrender a 2013 first-round draft pick.

Regardless, Jackson - who has been through this process a few times - is staying level-headed and is willing to ride things out.

“I have no clue what’s going to transpire,” Jackson said. “When everything starts to take place, I’ll just deal with it as it comes.”

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