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Will Yankees meet Edwin Jackson's demands?

The Yankees might be the most likely destination for former Cardinals righty Edwin Jackson.

Jackson's agent, Scott Boras, said yesterday that he'd had a discussion with New York about Jackson. And while that's a long way from a signed deal, the Yankees are desperate for starting pitching help and Jackson is certainly the best guy still on the market.

Besides, the Yankees are the only team likely to meet -- or at least get close to -- Boras' demand of a five-year deal worth in excess of $60 million. (There is some talk that Jackson would be willing to take a shorter term for an average value in the $15-$17 million range)

That's pretty steep stakes for a guy who is a 60-60 career pitcher with a 4.46 ERA. And wouldn't it make you nervous making a long-term commitment to a guy who has pitched for six different teams in nine major league seasons. Something doesn't add up when a durable pitcher with good stuff can't find a steady gig.

Jackson is a veteran of more than 1,000 innings. But he can't find consistency. He issues a walk almost every other inning he pitches and he has a career average of 1.48 base runners allowed per inning.

It bothers me much less to see a guy like Albert Pujols get a quarter of a billion dollar contract than to see the epitome of an average pitcher pull down $16-$17 million a year.

The Yankees have tried to show a great deal of restraint in the free agent shopping mall over the past couple of seasons. But if they give in to Jackson and give him the contract Boras has demanded, it would have to rank up there with some of the team's craziest spending ever. After all, it's fairly obvious that there is no one else even thinking about joining the bidding.

If Jackson lands with New York -- or any other team for that matter -- I hope it's for a one-year deal that forces him to prove his value. Otherwise, it's the fans in the end who get to pay the freight of another bad contract that ratchets the cost of doing business into the stratosphere.

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