I'm not going to explain to you why Edwin Jackson, who the Nats are close to signing, is worse than John Lannan, because that would be hard to do objectively. Lannan's success is based mostly on an ability to stop right-handed bats from slugging against him, even though they hit him just fine. It is an ability that no one has quite been able to pin down on WHY he can do it, so therefore most just ignore it and assume that it won't be repeated. Even though it has. For every healthy season he's been in the majors. I think that's fine for one season but for season after season after season I prefer to give in and find fault in my own analysis for being unable to match the world, not in the world for being unable to match my analysis.
Edwin Jackson is a fine pitcher, and in pretty much every other way, better than John Lannan. He gets hit harder against lefties now that Lannan has figured out how to pitch to them, but that's to be expected, since he is right handed. He gets hit more often but not that much more often. He should be better than John and a more than fine #3 type pitcher. Why did the market seemingly dry up for him then? I'm not sure, but given the complete reluctance in giving him a multi-year deal, I would guess that the teams believe, despite 3 years to the contrary, that Jackson could suddenly lose control again and when he does, because he gives up so many hits, it will get ugly fast. Do I know more than 30 teams closely scrutinizing each player? I don't believe so, but then again I just said with Lannan we have to believe, first in foremost, in the results on the page, if they are repeated over and over again. Jackson's been fine for 3 years and is not really in a decline phase of his career so there's no reason to believe he won't be at least a equal substitute for John.
But I don't believe that. And I'm not sure why.
Inevitable scenario - Lannan and a couple prospects are traded to the Mets for