Zach Stewart Rumors

Trade Reaction: Rasmus, Jackson, White Sox

On the off-chance you missed it, the Blue Jays, Cardinals and White Sox announced a pair of major trades today. The Blue Jays acquired center fielder Colby Rasmus and pitchers Trever Miller, Brian Tallet, and P.J. Walters from the Cardinals for starter Edwin Jackson, relievers Marc Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel, outfielder Corey Patterson, and three players to be named later or cash considerations. Before completing the deal with St. Louis, the Blue Jays acquired Jackson and third baseman Mark Teahen from the White Sox for reliever Jason Frasor and prospect Zach Stewart. Here’s reaction to the trades from around MLB. Be warned, Cardinals fans, you might not like what follows… 

  • The price the Cardinals paid to acquire Jackson and bullpen help was "just too high," according to ESPN.com's Keith Law, who suggests St. Louis' internal emphasis is on manager Tony La Russa, not the players. Law loves what Toronto did and doesn't understand Chicago's move.
  • Jim Bowden of ESPN says the Cardinals had better win this year "or they will really regret this one." He calls St. Louis' move the "worst trade of the year" and gives the Blue Jays an 'A.'
  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post confirms that the Cardinals turned down the Rays' offer of Jeff Niemann and J.P. Howell for Rasmus (Twitter link). Sherman suggests the Cardinals would have been better off accepting Tampa Bay's offer. 
  • The Giants showed how to go for it today and the Cardinals showed how not to go for it, Yahoo's Jeff Passan writes.
  • A longtime scout tells ESPN.com’s Buster Olney that Rasmus has a chance to be a star. “I don't understand that deal at all," the scout said (Twitter link). 
  • Matthew Leach of MLB.com likes what the Cardinals got for 2011, but finds it hard to like the deal for St. Louis because of what it means for 2012-14 (Twitter link).
  • Now that Rasmus and Carlos Beltran are off of the market, the list of teams with possible interest in B.J. Upton is taking shape, as Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times explains. The Braves, Indians, Nationals, Phillies, Pirates and Reds are possible destinations for Upton.
  • As Matt Eddy of Baseball America explains, Walters should qualify for a fourth option year in 2012 and Rzepczynski "might be the prototype" pupil for Cards pitching coach Dave Duncan.
  • Joe Pawlikowski of FanGraphs explains that it's easiest to see the trade from the Blue Jays' perspective, since they gave up three relievers and a prospect for a player who can help them contend for 2012-14.
  • At CloserNews, Dan Mennella wonders if Kyle McClellan could be in line for some saves, now that he's back in the bullpen.
  • Tim Dierkes wrote earlier today that “it's hard to see this as anything but a win for the Blue Jays.”
  • I agree with Tim and many of the others above- it’s a win for the Blue Jays. Let’s not forget how much has to be in place for this kind of deal to happen: a creative GM who reads the market well, payroll flexibility (for Teahen’s contract), willingness from ownership to take on salary, enough appealing prospects to be able to part with Stewart and enough bullpen depth to send three quality relievers packing on the same day. This trade doesn’t seem simple and in some ways it may actually be more complicated that it appears.

Blue Jays Acquire Jackson, Teahen For Frasor, Stewart

The Blue Jays acquired starter Edwin Jackson and third baseman Mark Teahen from the White Sox for reliever Jason Frasor and starter Zach Stewart, announced the teams.  Contrary to an earlier report, no cash will change hands in the deal.

AAH10082013_White_Sox_v_Royals

Trades are commonplace for Jackson (pictured), who was dealt for the fifth time in his career.  The surprising part is that the Blue Jays, 11 games out in the wild card, acquired the impending free agent.  Speculation is that Jackson may be flipped, possibly to the Cardinals in a deal involving Colby Rasmus.  Jackson, 27, has a 3.92 ERA, 7.2 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 0.59 HR/9 and 46.9% groundball rate in 121 2/3 innings this season, making him one of the better starters available.  The Scott Boras client will head to free agency after the season most likely as a Type B.  He has about $2.9MM remaining on his contract this year.

Teahen is regarded as a salary dump, with almost $7.2MM remaining on his contract through 2012.  The 29-year-old is hitting .203/.277/.305 in 130 plate appearances this year, and is another example of Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos taking on a bad contract to get a deal done.  It was reported yesterday that White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf wanted to trim payroll.  The Sox will save about $9MM over two years, Sox GM Kenny Williams told Gonzales, though that will be less Frasor's option if they pick it up.

Frasor, the Blue Jays' franchise leader in appearances with 455, has a 2.98 ERA, 7.8 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, 0.85 HR/9, and 40.2% groundball rate this year.  The 33-year-old Oak Forest, Illinois native has about $1.2MM remaining on his contract this year, plus a $3.75MM club option for 2012.  If the option is declined, Frasor will likely be a Type B free agent.  He's a fine addition to any team's bullpen, though the Sox already rank third in the AL with a 3.33 relief ERA.  The move shouldn't have much effect on Frasor's fantasy value, writes Dan Mennella of CloserNews.

Stewart, 24, ranked 44th among Keith Law's top 100 prospects prior to the season.  Stewart, who Law said has number two starter potential, posted a 4.20 ERA, 7.1 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, and 0.6 HR/9 in 94 1/3 innings this year at Double-A.

The deal was first reported by Doug Seyller, with Ken Rosenthal, Jon Paul Morosi, Joel Sherman, Jon Heyman, and Mark Gonzales also contributing.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.


Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Howard, Prince, Konerko

On this date five years ago, Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux faced off in the first matchup of 300-game winners since Don Sutton and Steve Carlton in 1987. Maddux's Cubs topped Clemens' Astros by the score of 3-2.

Let's look at what's being written around the blogosphere, with a heavy dose of Ryan Howard contract reactions…

If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here.



Blue Jays Acquire Brandon Morrow

The Blue Jays acquired pitcher Brandon Morrow from the Mariners for reliever Brandon League and minor league outfielder Johermyn Chavez today.  The agreement was first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports on Monday, while MLB.com's Jordan Bastian added the Chavez detail yesterday.

Morrow, 25, has a 3.96 ERA, 9.3 K/9, and 5.7 BB/9 in his 197.6-inning big league career.  The hard-throwing righty was drafted fifth overall by the Mariners in '06.  He made the team's Opening Day roster in '07 as a reliever, and stayed in that role to open the '08 season due to the Erik Bedard acquisition.  He dealt with a shoulder injury that year.  In August of '08 he transitioned to starting.  Elbow issues surfaced in the spring of '09, but once healthy Morrow was back in the 'pen.  He was sidelined by biceps tendinitis shortly thereafter, and it was back to starting in June.  Morrow has a pretty serious injury history in his big league career; it's difficult to determine if the frequent role-switching was the cause or the effect.  He is not yet arbitration-eligible and is under team control through 2013.  Chavez, who turns 21 next month, hit .283/.346/.474 last year in A ball.

League, 27 in March, has a 4.09 ERA, 6.9 K/9, and 3.2 BB/9 in 202.3 career relief innings.  League also throws in the mid-90s, and has a strong career groundball rate of 62%.  He's had an up-and-down career, oddly posting his best peripherals in '09 (3.6 K/BB) alongside a 4.58 ERA.  League had a shoulder injury that cost him most of '07.  He's under team control through 2012.

The Blue Jays come out ahead on this one.  Morrow is an obvious health risk, but he still has frontline starter potential.  It's a gamble worth taking at the cost of a reliever and a prospect.  Perhaps the Mariners believe it's all downhill from here for Morrow.


Odds And Ends: Colon, Lee, Bedard, Ligtenberg

More links for the afternoon…