Jackson and the Nats have agreed to terms on a deal that would pay the veteran right-hander $1.5 million if he makes the major league roster, with another $1.4 million possible in incentives, a source familiar with the contract confirmed.
Though he’ll get a chance to make the opening day rotation this spring, Jackson isn’t guaranteed any money or a roster spot. It’s similar to the minor league contract he signed with the Nationals last summer, when he made four starts for Triple-A Syracuse and was promoted to Washington to take the rotation spot that opened up after Joe Ross had Tommy John surgery.
Jackson wound up starting 13 games for the Nats during the second half of the season, going 5-6 with a 5.07 ERA.
The 34-year-old journeyman has pitched for 12 different major league clubs since 2003, never lasting more than three seasons with any one. But he has maintained a good relationship with the Nationals, for whom he made 31 starts in 2012 before returning last summer.
The Nats, for now, are positioning themselves to hold an open competition for the final spot in their rotation behind Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark. Jackson would join top prospect Erick Fedde and 26-year-old right-hander A.J. Cole as competitors for that No. 5 job, though general manager Mike Rizzo could still pursue a bigger-name starter via free agency or a trade to pitch in the middle of the rotation and bump Gonzalez and Roark to the fourth and fifth spots.
The Washington Post was first to report the signing.