Edwin Jackson

No Rasmus, but the White Sox did OK in the Edwin Jackson deal

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Blue Jays acquired RHP Edwin Jackson and 3B-OF Mark Teahen from the White Sox for RHP Zach Stewart and RHP Jason Frasor.

We all know the Blue Jays have bigger plans here.  Oddly enough, though, there was a great deal of speculation last year when the White Sox picked up Edwin Jackson from the Diamondbacks that they were going to flip him to the Nationals for Adam Dunn.

Of course, it didn’t work out that way, and the Jackson-for-Daniel Hudson deal now looks like one of White Sox GM Ken Williams’ biggest missteps.  Jackson ended up going 11-9 with a 3.66 ERA in 30 starts for the White Sox, while Hudson is 17-7 with a 2.99 ERA in 32 starts for the Diamondbacks.  And Hudson is under control through 2016.

Other thoughts:

– The White Sox reportedly tried and failed to turn Jackson and Matt Thornton into Colby Rasmus.  The Blue Jays, though, think they can use Jackson to pull it off, and it may havel already happened.  Joe Strauss said it’ll be Jackson, Octavio Dotel and Mark Rzepczynski to St. Louis for Rasmus.

– The price to land Jackson was a solid pitching prospect in Zach Stewart, the supplemental first-round pick that Jason Frasor would have brought back had he left as a free agent and Mark Teahen’s contract, which still has about $7.25 million left on it.

So, I think the White Sox did pretty well here.  I’m assuming Williams exhausted the Rasmus possibility and couldn’t make it work.  He should have been able to get a better prospect than Stewart from another team, but finding someone else to take Teahen’s contract would have been difficult.  The Teahen signing was another one of Williams’ missteps.  Teahen was a below average regular in each of his last two seasons in Kansas City, yet Williams not only felt the need to trade for him, but he also gave him a three-year, $14 million deal before Teahen ever had an at-bat for the White Sox.

Now Williams has an extra $5.5 million for next year with Teahen off the books.  He can keep Frasor and the draft pick he’ll bring this winter or swap him for another prospect.  Stewart’s stock has fallen some, but I think he’ll turn into a very good reliever if put back into the bullpen.  The Blue Jays have been starting him since picking him up from the Reds in the Scott Rolen deal and he’ll be a candidate for the White Sox rotation next year, but I really feel he’d be best as an eighth-inning guy and maybe a possible closer down the line.

– The draft picks here are a wash.  Jackson and Frasor are both free agents after the season.  Frasor had to accept arbitration last year because no one wanted to sign him as a Type A free agent.  However, this year he projects as a Type B, meaning the team that signs him wouldn’t have to forfeit a pick.  Jackson, although he’s probably going to end up signing a deal worth $30 million or more, also projects as a Type B free agent.  The Jays last year traded for the Rockies’ Miguel Olivo after the season solely for the draft pick he’d bring when he left as a free agent, and they’re more attuned to draft pick compensation than most teams in baseball.  That wasn’t really a factor here, though.

– Perhaps the biggest plus for the White Sox here is simply that Ken Williams gets to turn the page.  This year has been a disaster for his reputation, given Hudson’s emergence as a top-flight pitcher and the epic failures of high-priced acquisitions Adam Dunn and Alex Rios.  There’s still hope for Dunn and Rios, but Jackson wasn’t going to be brought back next year and Teahen, while not useless, wasn’t about to stop being overpaid.  There are probably more dominoes to fall, and it will be interesting to see if he decides to further remake the 2012 team by shipping off either John Danks or Gavin Floyd next.

Is Bud Black the favorite to be the next Braves manager?

Bud Black
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We talked last week about how Fredi Gonzalez is likely a dead man walking as the Braves manager. They stink, he’s a lame duck and part of the team’s whole marketing thrust is “2017 will be a new beginning,” what with the new ballpark and all. It stands to reason that Mr. Gonzalez doesn’t have long for this world.

Last week I suspected he’d be fired tomorrow, the Braves off day before a home stand. They’ve won in the past week, but it still wouldn’t shock me. Even if firing Gonzalez would be an act of scapegoating. It’s the roster that’s the problem, not the manager, even though Fredi doesn’t exactly inspire anyone.

Today Bob Nightengale throws this into the mix:

As of yet he hasn’t followed that up with an actual column or more tweets about who, exactly, considers Black to be the heavy favorite, but there’s a definitiveness to that which makes me think he’s heard something solid.

Black, as you know, was the long time Padres manager who had an unsuccessful flirtation with the Nationals before they hired Dusty Baker this past offseason. Black is now cooling his heels with his longtime boss Mike Scioscia in Anaheim, in what is clearly a “wait for his next managing opportunity” posture.

Could it be in Atlanta? At least one national writer and some nebulous group of insiders believe so, it would seem.

The Reds bullpen set a record for futility

Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher J.J. Hoover reacts after giving up a solo home run to Chicago Cubs' Javier Baez, left, during the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, April 22, 2016, in Cincinnati. The Cubs won 8-1. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Associated Press
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I mentioned this in the recaps this morning but it’s worthy of its own post.

The Cincinnati Reds’ bullpen gave up two runs last night. In so doing it made for the 21st consecutive game in which it has allowed at least one run. That’s a new major league record, having surpassed the 2013 Colorado Rockies’ record of 20, according to Elias.

Last year the Reds set a record — shattered it, really — by going with rookie starting pitchers in 64 straight games to end the season. Those guys aren’t rookies anymore, but they’re still really inexperienced. They could probably use some better bullpen help than they’ve been getting.

Headline of the Day– A-Rod: “Trophy Boyfriend”

Alex Rodriguez
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For as long as there have been couples, the woman in a couple has been publicly defined by the man’s life and accomplishments. It doesn’t matter if the woman cures cancer, walks on the moon or wins the Eurovision Song Contest, when news stories or obituaries are written, she is invariably referred to as “wife of ___” or “girlfriend of ___.” Even if the guy is a grade-A schmuck.

While that pattern still persists, it’s nice to see someone flip the script on it once in a while. Like The Cut did in its story about a new, high-profile couple going public:

 

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The couple: Alex Rodriguez and Anne Wojcicki. Who, if you were unaware, is a Silicon Valley biotech CEO and a billionaire. She went to Yale, played varsity hockey in college and is a mother. Alex Rodriguez is accomplished and famous, but outside of the sports bubble he’s a padawan to Wojcicki’s master Jedi. Despite this, in places other than The Cut, it would still not be surprising to see her referred to as “A-Rod’s girlfriend,” because that’s just how people roll. Here’s hoping others take The Cut’s lead when referring to women in the public sphere more often.

A related note: in the rare cases when a famous male personality is identified in reference to his female partner and not the other way around, people like to make jokes and like to question the masculinity of the man. Which is equally stupid. And, to the man in question, should be utterly beside the point.

To that end, I think it’s worth noting that Alex Rodriguez has been involved with several women who, outside of baseball, are far more famous than he is and it’s never seemed to be an issue for him whatsoever. People like to say a lot of things about A-Rod’s ego and personality, but in this respect I bet he’s a hell of a lot better adjusted, grounded and self-assured than the vast majority of men who might find themselves in his place.

Video: Jeff Samardzija breaks a bat over his knee after striking out

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Jeff Samardzija had a great night last night. He allowed one run on three hits over eight innings and picked up the win. In the early going he’s proving wrong those who thought that the Giants overpaid for him and is providing solid performance from the third spot in the Giants rotation. It’s all good.

But good is not always good enough for a professional athlete. Especially one like Samardzija, who excelled in multiple sports and likely can count his lifetime athletic failures on one hand. No, when you’re wired like that you get upset even when you’re excellent because sometimes you want to be perfect.

For example, most pitchers don’t get too worried about striking out. They’re there to pitch, not bat. They turn on their heel and calmly walk back to the dugout. Samardzija, however, got a bit irate when he struck out. Then he did this: