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Sox Trade For Edwin Jackson

by Mike DePilla
Friday, July 30, 2010
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In a move to bolster their starting rotation and possibly pave the way for a big trade, the White Sox acquired pitcher Edwin Jackson from the Arizona Diamondbacks this afternoon in exchange for Dan Hudson and minor league pitcher David Holmberg.

Because GM Ken Williams may not be done wheeling and dealing, we're all supposed to reserve our judgment on this trade. So all that follows here could be a waste of breath. But here it is anyway.

This move, on its own, is not great.

The Sox traded their number one overall prospect plus a second guy for a pitcher with a 5+ ERA in the inferior National League who is under contract for $8+ million next year. Once again, Williams has ignored any sense of "value" or leverage in a trade he was eager to make.

Jackson might pitch well for the Sox (this year and/or next) and he might be part of a bigger deal for Nationals' slugger Adam Dunn. But in any instance, this seems like a significant overpay on the Sox part.

On the season, Jackson was 6-10 with a 5.16 ERA for the Diamondbacks, but he is only a year removed from a 13-9, 3.62 mark with the Tigers in 2009. However most of his damage in '09 came before the All-Star break: he had a 2.52 ERA with an impressive 1.06 WHIP and .212 BAA in the first half compared to 5.07/1.53/.290 in the second half.

(For the record, Jackson has made four career starts at the Cell, posting a 4.88 ERA in 24 innings.)

There is definite untapped talent in Jackson, who is only 26 years old and has already made an All-Star team and pitched a no-hitter. In fact, I remember wanting the Sox to trade for Jackson seven years ago, when he was a 19 year old in the Dodgers system (at the time, there were rumors of a Konerko-for-Jackson swap). He has bounced around a few organizations since then, but the talent is still there. With electric stuff and questionable (but hopefully improvable) command, Jackson is the exact kind of "Coop can fix 'em" pitcher the Sox typically target.

However, the biggest difference between Jackson and other reclamation projects like Bobby Jenks, Matt Thornton and Gavin Floyd is that Jackson is owed about $2 million for the rest of this year and $8.35 million for 2011. That is a lot of money for a project, especially considering Hudson will make less than 1/16 of that and has a chance to put up similar numbers.

Another difference is that all of those pitchers were acquired in the off season, which gave Cooper and the rest of the Sox staff plenty of time to work with them. Jackson, who is 1-3 with a 6.85 ERA since his no-hitter and notorious for wearing down in the second half, will be expected to contribute in a meaningful way immediately to the Sox.

For the FanGraphs-inclined, ZiPS likes Jackson to the tune of a projected 3.97 ERA the rest of the season, which is an improvement from their preseason predictions. Hudson, by comparison, is projected to put up a 4.61 ERA by ZiPS for the rest of 2010.

So the Sox are better off trotting out Jackson every fifth day for the final months of a pennant race than Hudson, though that may not totally justify the trade. Hudson has a chance to be a quality starter down the road, and, at the very least, he was the Sox biggest bargaining chip in other prospective trades before tomorrow's trade deadline.

In short, trading Dan Hudson isn't the end of the world. But it's hard to believe Williams couldn't have gotten more bang for his buck than this.

Then again, who knows what comes next.


  1. I don't like this trade, but maybe they really think they know something about Jackson.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Who do you guys think will perform better for the rest of this season: Jackson or Hudson?