The trades continue: Edwin Jackson traded to Chicago White Sox

Edwin Jackson will be joining his fourth team in three years as the Arizona Diamondbacks traded him to the Chicago White Sox for prospects Dan Hudson and David Holmberg.

I am not a fan of this for Chicago, if this is the only move they make. Edwin Jackson is an above average pitcher. After struggling to live up to his talent and potential for years, he finally put things together last season in Detroit, where he had a 4.28 FIP, 4.39 xFIP, and 3.5 WAR, while throwing a career high 214 innings. And although his ERA has skyrocketed in the desert, Jackson has had an equally good year so far with an identical FIP and xFIP of 4.27.

But Jackson is not a special pitcher. He has an average K rate that’s been below seven K’s per nine for three consecutive years now, and his BB rate isn’t anything special. Moreover, he is prone to the long ball, which won’t fare well in Chicago. US Cellular Field has the highest HR park factor in baseball at 1.626, compared to Arizona’s Chase Field park factor of 1.121. In fact, one would have to go all the way back to 2002 to find the last time US Cellular wasn’t in the top four when it comes to HR park factor.

Down the stretch, his FIP is projected to be 4.16 which his current mark. I’d imagine he will produce one win of value for the Sox down the stretch. He is also under contract for $8.35mil next year and at the age of 27 if he has a similar season to the past two years- we’ll say 3.5 WAR- then he’ll be worth $15.4mil in 2011. Between 2010 and 2011 that brings his value to $16.4. However, if you subtract the money he is owed, Jackson walks away with a net value of about $7mil.

In my estimation, that’s an optimistic projection for Jackson, simply because of the park he is going to. In 2009 he broke out, but he did pitch in Comerica, a pitchers park. Yes, I know Chase is a hitter’s park as well and he’s done a decent job there this season, but US Cellular is a step above Chase. For a pitcher like Jackson, he could be killed by the fact runs, homers, doubles, and walks all go up in Cellular Field.

As for the D-Backs return, they got a nice arm in Dan Hudson. I know in 34 professional innings he has stunk, but that’s just it- 34 innings. As we all know if you’re reading this blog, 34 innings is a mega SSS. Hudson was the #3 prospect in Chicago’s system according to BA, and they also said he had the best slider and control in their farm system. Moreover, they also ranked him as the 66th best prospect in baseball and labeled his best tool as command. So it seems as if he is someone who will have a low BB rate in their career. If so, then it’s more evidence that the 11 BB he’s given up in 15 ML innings this season can be attributed to a SSS. Hudson is a big time strikeout pitcher with over a K per inning in his MiLB career and he doesn’t walk too many batters nor does he give up too many home runs. Factor in that he will be under team control for FIVE more years after 2010 and it’s easy to see why he would have a lot of value. If we label him a top fifty pitching prospect, he would be worth about $15-$16mil in value.

The White Sox also gave up a nineteen year old pitching prospect, taken in the second round of last year’s draft, and someone who was already rated the eighth best prospect in the Sox system.

So as it stands right now, I’d say the White Sox got fleeced. They gave up five controlled years of a real good pitching prospect and another prospect, for a year and two months of a decent starting pitcher. Moreover, Jackson won’t terribly help the Sox down the stretch, especially since he may not even perform better than Hudson going forward in 2010 (and 2011 to boot). In fact, Jackson might not even pitch in October should the Sox get there, if they go with a three man rotation of Gavin Floyd, John Danks, and Mark Buehrle.

HOWEVER, there is a strong feeling that Jackson could be flipped for Adam Dunn. Adam Dunn would help the White Sox a lot more than Edwin Jackson or Dan Hudson, especially since their lineup is a bigger area of concern than their rotation. While Dunn would only be in Chicago for two months, a whole year less than Jackson will be, he would also net the White Sox two draft picks. In a loaded 2011 draft, the Sox might value those two picks and what Dunn will bring in 2010, more than Hudson and Holmberg. And that is a fair thought process for Kenny Williams to have.

So…if Jackson stays in Chicago, it’s a win-lose in favor of Arizona. If Jackson is flipped for Adam Dunn, then I would call it a win-win.

And real quick, lets look the D-Backs. They got Jackson and Ian Kennedy for Max Scherzer and Dan Schlereth. In turn, they got Dan Hudson and David Holmberg for Jackson. So that’s Scherzer and Schlereth out, IPK, Holmberg, and Hudson in. At the end of the day, that’s not too bad.

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