It's not often that you see a well-regarded starting pitcher (or any well-regarded player, for that matter) appear on eight different teams prior to his 30th birthday, but that's the situation in which Edwin Jackson currently finds himself. Of course, Jackson inked a four-year deal with the Cubs that should give him some stability, but that's not his first stop in Chicago.
Jackson spent parts of two seasons across town as a member of the White Sox rotation from 2010-11. General manager Kenny Williams swung a midseason deal in 2010 that brought a struggling Jackson from the Diamondbacks to the White Sox in exchange for right-hander Daniel Hudson (23 years old at the time) and minor league lefty David Holmberg (18). It's been nearly three years since that trade occurred, so let's take a look at the players involved...
- Edwin Jackson: While he had thrown a no-hitter for the D-backs that season, Jackson was struggling at the time of the trade. He'd posted a 5.16 ERA in in 21 starts but was coming off a solid 2009 campaign and had one and a half years of team control remaining. Jackson turned things around with the South Siders in a big way. His K/9 rate soared from 7.0 to 9.2 while his BB/9 dropped from 4.0 to 2.2. Jackson contributed 1.9 WAR (per Fangraphs) to an 88-win season for the White Sox, but they came up short and finished second in the AL Central. He was terrific in the first half of 2011 as well, posting an even 3.0 WAR before being traded to the Blue Jays (who immediately flipped him to St. Louis) in a deal that netted Jason Frasor and Zach Stewart while also freeing the Sox of the remaining $7.2MM on Mark Teahen's contract.
- Daniel Hudson: Hudson ranked as Chicago's No. 3 prospect, per Baseball America, prior to the 2010 season. He'd struggled in three big league starts that year, but he was a revelation for the Diamondbacks down the stretch. In 11 starts following the trade, Hudson posted a 1.69 ERA, 7.9 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9, cementing his place in Arizona's rotation. He followed up that 2.2 WAR effort with an incredible 4.9-win sophomore campaign for the D-backs, but he was a Tommy John victim after just nine ugly starts in 2012. All told, Hudson has a 3.58 ERA, 7.2 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 347 innings as a Diamondback. He's not yet eligible for arbitration and can be controlled through 2016.
The Minor League Side:
- David Holmberg: At the time of the trade, Holmberg was BA's eighth-ranked White Sox prospect, but he'd struggled to a 4.46 ERA in eight starts in the rookie-level Pioneer League that season. Holmberg has ascended quickly, however, and now ranks as the D-backs' No. 6 prospect according to BA and the No. 8 prospect according to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo. BA notes that Holmberg is likely to reach his ceiling of a No. 3 or 4 starter in the Major Leagues thanks to his plus command and a very strong changeup. His fastball sits 88-91 mph and can touch 93 at times. Mayo notes that while Tyler Skaggs is the lefty who gets all of the buzz in the Diamondbacks' system, Holmberg "isn't that far behind him." Holmberg reached Double-A as a 20-year-old in 2012 and made 15 solid starts. Now 21 years of age, he's opened the 2013 season at the same level and sports a 3.10 ERA 6.3 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 151 career Double-A innings.
Three years later, it looks like the Diamondbacks got a very good return for a talented but struggling starter. It's conceivable that within the next two seasons, 40 percent of Arizona's rotation will consist of the two players they received in this deal. Jerry Dipoto, the D-backs' GM at the time of the trade (he's now GM of the Angels), did well to secure a pair of prospects who ranked in Chicago's Top 10.
The price Chicago paid doesn't seem crazy either, given Jackson's terrific results with the White Sox. Jackson gave them 4.9 wins above replacement, but most fans will look back on this trade in a negative light due to the lack of return for Jackson when they traded him a year later. That's a fair criticism (and also a trade for another post), but Jackson was every bit the pitcher the White Sox were hoping he'd be when they acquired him. This would probably go down as a win-win had the Sox contended in 2011 or made the playoffs in 2010.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Right-hander Scott Proctor has decided to retire, according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (on Twitter). The 36-year-old had signed a minor league contract with the Giants this offseason but was traded to the Orioles in March and released at the end of April.
Proctor, a fifth-round pick of the Dodgers in 1998, appeared in 307 games between the Dodgers, Yankees and Braves. In 343 career innings, he pitched to a 4.78 ERA, 7.6 K/9, 4.4 BB/9 and a 31.9 percent ground-ball rate. Proctor's best year came in 2006 with the Yankees when he totaled 102 1/3 innings with a 3.52 ERA. The Florida State University product banked nearly $3MM over the course of his career, according to Baseball-Reference.com.
Today's minor moves...
- Baseball America's Matt Eddy reports that the Orioles have signed Ronny Paulino to a minor league deal. Eddy's piece contains a wealth of information, as it includes a complete rundown of minor league transactions that have taken place from May 9-16 among all 30 teams.
- Athletics reliever Chris Resop cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A, tweets Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. The A's had designated Resop for assignment on Friday to open a 40-man roster spot for Hideki Okajima. Resop, 30, had a 6.00 ERA, 6.5 K/9, 5.0 BB/9, 1.50 HR/9, and 41.9% groundball rate in 18 innings this year. Having been outrighted once before, Resop had the ability to reject this assignment, but it made sense to accept and keep his $1.35MM salary. That salary also may explain why he went unclaimed. The A's acquired Resop from the Pirates in November last year for 25-year-old minor league reliever Zach Thornton.
- Mark Teahen has asked for and been granted his release from the Diamondbacks and is a free agent, MLBTR has learned. The versatile veteran played in the Majors from 2005-11, compiling a .264/.327/.409 line for the Royals, White Sox, and Blue Jays. Teahen began the year with Arizona's Triple-A club before being traded to the Reds earlier this month. The deal fell through due to the Reds' concerns about his physical, though the D'Backs and the player consider him healthy. Teahen had been playing in extended spring training due to a lack of roster spots in Reno.
- Five players currently reside in DFA limbo: Derek Lowe of the Rangers, Daric Barton of the A's, Jon Rauch of the Marlins, Alberto Gonzalez of the Yankees, and Scott Cousins of the Angels. The Cubs' Michael Bowden will join that group when Matt Garza is activated. Should he clear waivers, Rauch would reject an outright assignment, at which point he'd be released and another team could sign him at the league minimum with the Marlins paying the rest of his $1MM salary.
The Mets announced that they have signed David Aardsma to a minor league deal. The right-hander will report to the club's Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas.
Aardsma, 31, was with the Marlins on a minor league deal but exercised his opt-out clause in mid-May. The veteran posted a 2.57 ERA with 12 strikeouts and eight walks across 14 innings of work for Triple-A New Orleans. Aardsma has had bad luck with injuries in recent years, having undergone surgery to repair the labrum in his left hip followed by Tommy John surgery in 2011.
Late last week, we heard that Japan's Hanshin Tigers had interest in bringing Aardsma aboard after he parted ways with Miami. For his career, Aardsma owns a 4.22 ERA with 9.1 K/9 and 5.1 BB/9 across parts of seven big league seasons.
With 40% of their innings coming from relievers, the Pirates' bullpen has been worked the hardest among all National League teams. The onus is on GM Neal Huntington to add depth at the trade deadline, writes Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, who notes that the NL Central is "tougher than many of us expected" due to the Pirates playing .591 ball so far. Elsewhere in baseball's central divisions...
- The Royals are the frontrunner to sign 15-year-old Italian shortstop Marten Gasparini, sources tell Ben Badler of Baseball America, with the Dodgers and Cubs also showing interest. Gasparini, who turns 16 on Friday, is "expected to sign the biggest contract ever for a European amateur player," according to Badler. The speedy switch-hitter may top the $800K the Twins gave to German outfielder Max Kepler in 2009. Be sure to check out Badler's full profile of Gasparini.
- Josh Vitters is the future at third base for the Cubs, president Theo Epstein told Ian Stewart, Stewart explained to MLB.com's Carrie Muskat. That means playing time will be hard to come by for Stewart at Triple-A Iowa, where he landed after being removed from the Cubs' 40-man roster this month. Stewart wondered if the comment was Epstein's way of trying to get him to give up his contract, but the third baseman told Muskat, "It wouldn't really make sense for me to take a release or ask for free agency, because then I'd be giving up my contract, and that doesn't make sense for me financially or for my family." Stewart signed a $2MM deal to remain with the Cubs after being non-tendered in December, and hoped to be with the big league club after rehabbing a February quad injury.
- Matt Garza will make his season debut tomorrow with the Cubs in Pittsburgh, and he's eligible for free agency after the season. Jesse Rogers and Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com discussed Garza's future, with Levine suggesting, "I believe if he stays healthy the Cubs will offer him a short-term extension that could be a plus for both sides."
- The Twins "will get a close approximation of what it would be like to have Mike Trout and Bryce Harper in the same lineup" when top prospects Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano reach their primes, writes Jim Callis of Baseball America. Asked to rank prospect tandems in terms of potential five years down the road, Callis ranked Buxton and Sano ahead of Oscar Taveras and Shelby Miller of the Cardinals, Jose Fernandez and Christian Yelich of the Marlins, and Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado of the Orioles, among others.
The Blue Jays announced today they've recalled 22-year-old outfielder Anthony Gose, who has a .227/.343/.325 line playing center field at Triple-A. Gose, who played in 56 games for the Jays last year, ranked #59 on Keith Law's top 100 prospects list for ESPN prior to the 2012 season and 39th on Baseball America's list. Gose was surprised by the promotion, reports Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca, while Jays manager John Gibbons said he will not be used in an everyday role at this time. On to today's links:
- The Dodgers have "no plans" to fire manager Don Mattingly when the team returns home Thursday or before then, a club official tells Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Last night, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports put forth a guess that Mattingly will be fired if things don't go better for the Dodgers in this week's three-game set in Milwaukee.
- With a 4.61 ERA, the Dodgers' bullpen ranks 14th in the National League, and they're tied for third with eight blown saves. After yesterday's problems with Kenley Jansen and Brandon League, Mattingly said to reporters, "We had guys get away early who seemed to fit." Mattingly was seemingly referring to the Cubs' Kevin Gregg, who was released by the Dodgers' front office in April after they couldn't find a bullpen spot for him.
- "Non-existent" was the word one American League executive used to describe the relief pitching market, writes WEEI's Rob Bradford. Here in May, the market looks short on sellers with quality relief pieces.
- Speaking of relievers, are you following @CloserNews on Twitter? Win the saves category in your fantasy league by following our updates on all things closer-related.
Having lost veterans Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty to elbow injuries, the Braves are expected to be in the hunt for a lefty reliever, confirmed Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal notes that Miami's Mike Dunn would be ideal; Atlanta traded him to the Marlins in the Dan Uggla deal several years ago. Dunn, who turns 28 on Thursday, has pushed his walk rate down a bit and is getting more groundballs, which partially explains his 1.74 ERA. He's under team control through 2016, and the Marlins should be able to command a strong return on the trade market. Which other lefty relievers might become available this summer?
- Darren Oliver and Brett Cecil, Blue Jays. Oliver, 42, hasn't been effective against left-handed hitters this year, allowing 14 hits out of 36 batters faced. Cecil has dominated same-side batters, but he is under team control through 2016 and would be much harder to acquire.
- J.P. Howell, Dodgers. Howell and his 87 mile-an-hour heater have been extremely effective against lefty hitters. He has a $2.85MM base salary plus incentives.
- Wesley Wright and Travis Blackley, Astros. Erik Bedard is another name to watch here, though he's currently in the Astros' rotation and might be needed there. Wright has been ineffective against lefties, while Blackley has been OK.
- Brian Duensing, Twins. Glen Perkins could be very popular on the trade market, but he's signed potentially through 2016 and I'm not sure the Twins would be willing to trade their closer. Duensing has been very good against left-handed hitters and is under team control through 2015.
- James Russell, Cubs. Russell may be the prize among left-handed relievers. His numbers have moved in the right direction this year. He's dominated lefty hitters and is usable against right-handed ones. He's under team control through 2015, so the Cubs will be in no rush to move him.
- Tom Gorzelanny and Mike Gonzalez, Brewers. Gorzelanny has a 2.30 ERA on the season, a deceptive number given his low strikeout rate, high walk rate, and proclivity toward the longball. Signed through 2014, the Brewers would do well to clear his contract. Gonzalez, also signed as a free agent during the offseason, needs to be kept far away from right-handed hitters. His 4.5 K/BB ratio against left-handed batters is promising, but he has been hittable.
- Charlie Furbush and Oliver Perez, Mariners. Walks have been a problem for Furbush, who is under team control through 2017. Perez has at least limited free passes against lefty batters, whom the impending free agent has dominated.
- Antonio Bastardo, Phillies. Bastardo has allowed a pair of home runs among his 25 left-handed hitters faced, which continues to be a problem for him given his inability to get groundballs. He's under team control through 2015.
- Scott Downs, Angels. The L.A. teams certainly aren't ready to punt on the season, but one or both may be in two months. Downs, 37, is earning $5MM in the last year of his contract. He's got one of the best groundball rates you'll find, and remains tough on left-handed hitters.
- Matt Thornton, White Sox. Unlike most left-handed relievers, Thornton sits around 94 miles per hour with his fastball. The 36-year-old earns $5.5MM this year and has a $6MM club option for 2014. He battled elbow inflammation in February and strikeouts have eluded him so far, depressing his trade value.
- Joe Thatcher, Padres. Thatcher has been hittable against lefties, but otherwise effective. He's under team control through 2014.
- Marc Rzepczynski, Cardinals. Rzepczynski had his fire questioned by GM John Mozeliak, and despite a $1.1MM salary he and his 7.88 ERA were demoted to Triple-A in late April. Lefties have hit him well at that level too, so the Cardinals would be selling low to move him this summer.
In an April 29th poll of over 28,000 MLBTR readers, 3.25% voted for the Nationals' Mike Rizzo as the best GM in baseball. That placed Rizzo 13th overall; only Billy Beane received more than 9% of the vote. A few days prior, the Nationals had exercised Rizzo's 2014 club option. On the face of it, that move was seen as a show of support from ownership for the GM, as they were not obligated to make a decision until after the season. At the time, it was reported that the two sides were working on an extension beyond 2014, and also noted that the Nats still retain a 2015 club option.
Upon deeper examination from Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, exercising Rizzo's club option may not have been a generous move by the team. The move "may have created a potential fissure between ownership and its general manager," writes Kilgore. Since Rizzo signed on in 2010 with no experience as a full-time GM, his contract was quite team-friendly, putting him in the bottom third in salary for his position and allowing for the pair of club options. As we've seen with players with less than a year's service time, such as Matt Moore and Salvador Perez, the team has all the leverage at that point.
Nationals owner Mark Lerner seemed to admit Saturday that extension talks with Rizzo have not yet taken place, despite earlier statements to the contrary. Lerner still expressed optimism for a deal, while Rizzo told Kilgore, "I’d like to be here for the long term. I hope the Lerner family feels the same way."
Last summer, the biggest names traded were Zack Greinke, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Omar Infante, Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino, Ryan Dempster, Paul Maholm, Ichiro Suzuki, Wandy Rodriguez, Kevin Youkilis, Francisco Liriano, J.A. Happ, Jeremy Guthrie, Brett Myers, Kurt Suzuki, Joe Blanton, Brandon League, Marco Scutaro, Stephen Drew, Joe Saunders, Edward Mujica, and Chris Johnson.
As always, the vast majority of trades will take place in July and August. Perhaps we'll see a handful of All-Stars dealt, and surely a slew of solid veterans (often in contract years) and decent prospects. With over two months remaining until the trade deadline, several of the more interesting speculative trade candidates, such as Chase Headley, David Price, Giancarlo Stanton, and Cliff Lee, appear unlikely. Weigh in with today's poll - check all the names you expect to be traded this summer. You can click here to view the results.
A look back at the original reporting and analysis found on MLBTR this past week:
- Tim Dierkes updated MLBTR's 2014 Free Agent Power Rankings. Robinson Cano is still the top ranked free agent, but eight of the nine other positions changed hands.
- Charlie Wilmoth tabbed the Pirates' Starling Marte as an extension candidate even though he has less than one year of service time.
- Steve Adams listed five minor league pitchers who are nearing the opt-out date in their contract. The Padres took notice selecting Tim Stauffer a mere four days after Steve's post.
- Mark Polishuk examined the trade candidacy of Astros ace Bud Norris.
- Steve broke down the 2014 free agent pitchers with the best command by starters and relievers.
- Tim asked MLBTR readers which 2014 free agent will receive a qualifying offer. A majority surveyed believe the Yankees will tender both Robinson Cano (88%) and Curtis Granderson (53%). Approximately two-thirds of you also believe Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo will receive a qualifying offer.
- Edward Mujica was not included in Tim's survey, but Steve is very bullish about the Cardinals closer in the lastest Free Agent Stock Watch.
- MLBTR was the first to report the Mets' signing of right-hander Matt Fox from the independent league York Revolution.
- MLBTR broke the news Cardinals right-hander Trevor Rosenthal changed agencies leaving Full Circle Sports Management for the Boras Corporation.
- MLBTR was the first to learn of the Twins' signing of outfielder Jordan Parraz and his assignment to Double-A.
- Tim hosted this week's chat and emptied the MLBTR Mailbag.
- MLBTR contributor Marc Hulet updated the Prospect Rumor Roundup.
- Zach Links compiled the latest edition of Baseball Blogs Weigh In.