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.

Matt Harvey has a 13.19 ERA since coming back from the disabled list

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Matt Harvey‘s season was mostly a loss due to extended time on the disabled list. He’s been given a chance, however, to end the season strong and make a case for himself in the Mets’ future plans. Unfortunately, he has been unable to make that case. He was shelled again last night, and his late season opportunity has been a disaster.

Last night Harvey gave up seven runs on 12 hits and struck out only two batters in four innings against a Marlins team that, until facing him anyway, had been reeling. It was his fourth start since going on the shelf in mid-June and in those four starts he’s allowed 21 runs, all earned, on 32 hits in 14.2 innings, for an ERA of 13.19. In that time he’s struck out only eight batters while walking seven. His average fastball velocity, while ticking up slightly in each of his past four starts, is still below 95. Back when he was an ace he was consistently above that. His command has been terrible.

Injury is clearly the culprit. He had Tommy John surgery just as he was reaching his maximum level of dominance in 2013. While he came back strong in 2015, he was used pretty heavily for a guy with a brand new ligament. Last year he was felled by thoracic outlet syndrome and this year a stress injury to his shoulder. Any one of those ailments have ended pitchers’ careers and even among those who bounce back from them, many are diminished. To go through all three and remain dominant is practically unheard of.

Yet this is where Matt Harvey is. He’s 28. He’s still arbitration eligible, for a team that is, to put it politely, sensitive to large financial outlays. While his 4-5 start opportunity to end the year may very well have been seen as a chance to shop Harvey to another team, his trade value is at an all-time low. It would not be shocking if, on the basis of his recent ineffectiveness, the Mets considered non-tendering him this offseason, making him a free agent.

Someone would probably take a chance on him because famous names who once showed tremendous promise are often given multiple chances in the big leagues (See, Willis, Dontrelle). But at the moment, there is nothing in Harvey’s game to suggest that he is capable of taking advantage of such a chance. All one can hope is that an offseason of rest and conditioning will allow Harvey to reclaim at least a portion of his old form.

Noah Syndergaard is concerned about climate change

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Mets starter Noah Syndergaard has been on the disabled list for most of the season so it’s not like “sticking to baseball” is an option for him. The man has a lot of time on his hands. And, given that he’s from Texas, he is obviously paying attention to the flooding and destruction brought by Hurricane Harvey and its fellow storms in recent weeks.

Last night the self-described “Texan Republican” voiced concern over something a lot of Republicans don’t tend to talk about much openly: climate change and the Paris Agreement:

The existence of Karma and its alleged effects are above my pay grade, but the other part he’s talking about is the Trump Administration’s decision, announced at the beginning of June, to pull out of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement on climate change mitigation. Withdrawal from it was something Trump campaigned on in 2016 on the basis that “The Paris accord will undermine the economy,” and “put us at a permanent disadvantage.” The effective date for withdrawal is 2020, which Syndergaard presumably knows, thus the reference to Karma.

Trump and Syndergaard are certainly entitled to their views on all of that. It’s worth noting that climate experts and notable think tanks like the Brookings Institution strongly disagree with Trump’s position with respect to tradeoffs and impacts, both economic and environmental. At the same time it’s difficult to find much strong sentiment in favor of pulling out of the Paris Agreement outside of conservative political outlets, who tend to find themselves in the distinct minority when it comes to climate change policy.

I’m not sure what a poll of baseball players would reveal about their collective views on the matter, but we now have at least one datapoint.