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.

Cubs won’t make Kyle Schwarber available in trade talks

Kyle Schwarber
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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Cubs won’t deal Kyle Schwarber this winter, despite multiple inquires from teams around the league. Schwarber is approaching his first year of arbitration and will remain under team control for another three seasons before reaching free agency in 2022.

The decision comes on the heels of one of the strongest seasons of the 25-year-old outfielder’s short career. Over 137 games and 510 PA for the Cubs, he proved a passable defender in left field and batted .238/.356/.467 with 26 home runs, an .823 OPS, and 3.2 fWAR in 2018. He also led the National League in intentional walks, with 20, and bumped up his total walks from 59 in 2017 to 78.

Despite his marked improvements from previous years, Schwarber’s performance still left something to be desired — specifically against left-handed pitchers, who held the slugger to a paltry .224/.352/.303 with four extra-base hits across 91 PA. Still, it’s evident the Cubs feel Schwarber is capable of strengthening his splits in the years to come, and they might stand to get more value from him on the field than they would in a trade this offseason.

Of course, that’s not to say the Cubs intend to pass the Winter Meetings in total silence, especially as they’ll be seeking bullpen and catching depth in advance of their 2019 run at the division title. As club president Theo Epstein remarked last week, “We’re certainly open and active in trade talks with a lot of deals that usually don’t come to fruition. So, we may make some trades. We could make big ones that transform the roster. We may make smaller complementary ones. But there’s certain things we’d like to accomplish.”